Netflix has been making waves in the last few years by acquiring films from interesting filmmakers. Just last week, the streaming service took over the distribution of “Mowgli” from Warner Bros. The move was surprising to many, as the big budget film was just two months away from its October release. Serkis and the cast have been happy with the move, saying all the right things about Netflix. It’s done some good because Netflix is moving forward with Serkis by acquiring his next film, “Animal Farm,” based on the novel by George Orwell.
According to Deadline, Netflix moved forward with the motion-capture film in the wake of picking up “Mowgli” last week. Serkis will continue to direct the film, and Matt Reeves will oversee the project as a producer. Reeves directed Serkis in the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy that concluded last year. Also on board to produce are Rafi Crohn, Adam Kassan, and Jonathan Cavendish.
“Animal Farm” remains a definitive allegory and satire of the Bolshevik Revolution. The story of animals turning against those who ran the farm, only to become tyrannical themselves, remains relevant today. There are dozens of characters to voice and tackle, which has led to animated adaptations in the past. There was a live-action TV movie adaptation from Hallmark in 1999, featuring Kelsey Grammar and Julia-Louis Dreyfuss. While that version relied on a combination of live animals and Henson puppets, this version will be brought to life with motion capture. Netflix is doubling down on high budget visual effects films of late, including last year’s “Bright,” “Okja,” the upcoming “The Irishmen” and now Serkis’ new film. It seems that Netflix is making a real play for blockbuster filmmaking.