Movies

Taika Waititi to direct animated movie about Michael Jackson’s chimp

The acclaimed New Zealand director will tell Bubbles's story.

Director Taika Waititi
Director Taika Waititi

Much-acclaimed New Zealand director Taika Waititi has signed on to direct a movie about the life of Bubbles, Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee.

The opportunity to direct an animated feature will be a first for the Hunt For The Wilderpeople director, who is reportedly excited by the project.

"It's an idea that fascinates me and one I want to develop further," he said in a statement to Screen Daily.

Taika, who also directed box office hits What We Do In The Shadows and the 2010 award-winning Boy starring James Rolleston said the film wasn’t about Michael Jackson, as such, rather it was more an imagined understanding of the star's life.

"Most people know I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan, so the main thing for me is to make sure it's respectful of him and his legacy. I'm not interested in making a biopic; I want to focus on telling a story that blends fact and fantasy, about an animal trying to make sense of the world.

"This film is not about Michael Jackson because that's not a story for me to tell - or a story I'd be comfortable telling - it's about a chimpanzee's fascinating journey through the complex jungle of human life."

Michael Jackson's moves and music featured in Taika's classic comedy hit 'Boy'. Photo: Getty Images
Michael Jackson's moves and music featured in Taika's classic comedy hit 'Boy'. Photo: Getty Images

The film will tell the story through Bubbles perspective - Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee the star adopted from a rescue centre in 1983.

The Kiwi director will work with Mark Gustafan, who was the animation director on Wes Anderson’s stop motion feature Fantastic Mr Fox. The script was written by Isaac Adamson and the film will be produced by Dan Harmon, who created the television comedy series Community.

Taika is currently in post-production for his new Marvel superhero movie Thor: Ragnarok which is due out later this year.

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