Writer Rene Goscinny and illustrator Jean-Jacques Sempe’s classic French children’s books Little Nicholas(Le Petit Nicolas) are set to be adapted into a hand-drawn 2d feature produced by On Entertainment.
Created by Goscinny and Sempe in the 1960s, Little Nicholas centers on the playful misadventures of a young boy living in Paris and the people around him.
Although Little Nicholas has previously been adapted into live-action films and a 2009 cg animated series titled Little Nick in English, this will be the first time the beloved character will be given a full-length animated movie. According to the news, first reported by Variety, the project is currently known as Le Petit Nicolas, une enfance rêvée (Little Nicholas, A Dreamed Childhood), and will be directed by Gilles de Maistre (Mia and the White Lion) and Amandine Fredon (an animator on A Cat in Paris).
On Entertainment, the French company behind The Little Prince and the upcoming Playmobile: The Movie, is co-producing with Pascal Le Notre’s Foliascope, Luxembourg’s Bidibul Productions, and Canada’s Kaibou. Aton Soumache, chairman of On Animation Studios, will produce the film.
International sales are being handled by Charades who will present the project to buyers at Cannes this month. Previously Charades handled sales for Mamoru Hosoda’s Oscar-nominated Mirai.
Anne Goscinny, daughter of the original author, is co-wroting the screenplay alongside Michel Fessler (March of the Penguins). The film will feature two separate but intertwined narratives. Part of the movie will focus on the title character as he appears in the source material, while the other will concentrate on showing how Goscinny and Sempe created Little Nicholas. Both the fictional world of Nicholas and the origin story focused on the artists take place in the 1960s.
“Goscinny was able to infuse the story with anecdotes and memories she has of her father and Sempe,” Soumache told Variety. “Together with Michel Fessler they form a complementary duo, just like Gilles de Maistre and Amandine Fredon, and Pascal Le Notre and I. It’s about combining strengths and different animation and storytelling traditions.”
Visually, Little Nicholas will be created using a “Chinese ink-wash animation” style, which will attempt to replicate resemble the look and texture of Sempe’s original artwork. According to Soumache, the project has been development for four years, in which the team was exploring the ideal technique to achieve the visual aesthetic they were after.
With the production of Little Nicholas, On Entertainment will launch a specialty label focused on arthouse animation called On Classics.