Carlos Saldanha to direct The Phantom Tollbooth adaptation
Carlos Saldanha (Rio, Ice Age franchise, Ferdinand) will direct TriStar’s adaptation of the classic children’s story from Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. Saldanha is replacing Matt Shakman (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who was previously set to direct but moved away from the project following scheduling issues.
The Phantom Tollbooth centers on Milo, an apathetic child who is bored by everything. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through it and discovers the magical Lands Beyond — which is full of intriguing places and dynamic characters, like kidnapped princesses and Rhyme and Reason, and Tock, an oversized watchdog with a clock in his side — and learns that life is much more exciting than he had thought it to be.
Since it was first published, Juster’s book has sold nearly four million copies. The adapted screenplay’s current draft was penned by Ted Melfi (Hidden Figures). Previous writers include Michael Vukadinovich and Phil Johnston.
The Phantom Tollbooth will be produced by Donald De Line and Ed McDonnell. The movie will serve as Saldanha’s live-action feature debut.
There was a previous live-action/animated film version of The Phantom Tollbooth in 1970 that starred Butch Patrick as Milo and the voices of Mel Blanc, Daws Butler, Candy Candido, Hans Conried, June Foray, Patti Gilbert, Shepard Menken, Cliff Norton, Larry Thor, and Les Tremayne. The film was directed and produced by Chuck Jones, though the live-action scenes at the beginning and the end of the film were directed by Dave Monahan.