The Paddington producers are developing a Pippi Longstocking movie. Though the Paddington Bear novels by author Michael Bond have become a global phenomenon since first being introduced in 1958, the famed bear’s theatrical adaptations - Paddington and Paddington 2, have also earned plenty of praise.
The series, about a young bear from “darkest Peru” who leaves home in order to find a better life in London and stumbles headlong into adventure in the process, brought together some high profile talent such as Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Ben Whishaw and Hugh Grant. Both Paddington films were highly successful at the international box office, and a third film is currently rumored to be in the works, though the return of director Paul King is reportedly unlikely. It seems that the franchise’s producers, Studiocanal and David Heyman have found a veritable fan favorite in Paddington, though Whishaw, who voices Paddington in the films, has previously given the impression that he would be reluctant to return without King’s particular set of filmmaking skills.
With the future of the Paddington series yet to be confirmed, it seems that Studiocanal and David Heyman are setting their sights on another famed literary children’s hero. According to Deadline, the two production companies are teaming up to bring an adaptation of Pippi Longstocking to the big screen. At present, there's no word on a potential cast or when the film could be released. However, Heyman had this to say about the new project:
“I am thrilled to collaborate with Thomas Gustafsson, Olle Nyman and their team at the Astrid Lindgren Company and our partners at Studiocanal on this film adaptation of the brilliant and timeless Pippi Longstocking. Pippi has endured and inspired families everywhere through her life force, strength of character and her irrepressible joie de vivre. Astrid Lindgren’s books have been translated around the globe for many years – a testament to her vision which we are determined to honour with a new film.”
Like Paddington, the Pippi Longstocking novels were published over half a century ago, though their popularity has not diminished with time. Author Astrid Lindgren's Longstocking is known as “the world’s strongest girl,” and has had numerous run-ins with pirates, thieves and undesirables while her sailor father is away. Together with her best friends Tommy and Annika, as well as her trusty pet monkey and horse, the stories (which have been translated into 76 languages as well as numerous TV and film adaptations) focused on morality and getting the most out of life – particularly since Pippi refuses to grow up.
With the proven success that the Paddington series has found in resurrecting an age-old character for a new generation, there’s every reason to believe that similar success can be found with Pippi Longstocking. At a time when diversity and positive portrayals of girls and women are being demanded in cinema, the possibilities for stories with the Pippi character seem endless. Even beyond that, however, if the past success of Paddington has proven anything, it’s that audiences respond positively to warm, happy and uplifting stories that offer a touch of the familiar. Fortunately, Pippi Longstocking possesses all of those characteristics.