A beautifully crafted animated film, inspired by Antoine de Saint‐Exupéry’s beloved 1942 masterpiece, THE LITTLE PRINCE will be released in theatres across the Philippines on December 2.
One of the biggest animated movies to launch from Europe this year, this innovative project is directed and produced by Mark Osborne, who co‐ directed DreamWorks’ Oscar‐nominated movie “Kung Fu Panda”.
An international team of extremely talented animated feature film professionals was drawn to both Paris and Montreal to create the film, which features a stellar voice cast of international actors, including Jeff Bridges (The Aviator), Rachel McAdams (The Mother), Marion Cotillard (The Rose), James Franco (The Fox), Albert Brooks (The Businessman), Mackenzie Foy (The Little Girl), Benicio Del Toro (The Snake), Ricky Gervais (The Conceited Man), Paul Giamatti (The Teacher), Bud Cort (The King) and Riley Osborne (The Little Prince).
THE LITTLE PRINCE is a loving tribute inspired by Antoine de Saint‐Exupéry’s hugely popular and beloved 1942 novella, which has been translated into more than 250 languages and has sold over 145 million copies worldwide. The film centres on the friendship between an eccentric old Aviator (Jeff Bridges) and the very grown‐up young girl who moves in to the house next door with her extremely grown‐up Mother (Rachel McAdams). Through the pages of the Aviator’s book and his drawings, the Little Girl (Mackenzie Foy) learns the story of how he long ago crashed in a desert and met the Little Prince (Riley Osborne), an enigmatic boy from a distant planet. The Aviator’s experiences and the tale of the Little Prince’s travels to other worlds bring the Little Girl and the Aviator closer as they embark on a remarkable adventure together.
The screenplay for THE LITTLE PRINCE was written by Irena Brignull (“The Boxtrolls”) and Bob Persichetti based on a story conceived by Mark Osborne. The world of the Little Girl and her Mother are rendered in the very “grown‐up” style of CG animation, used cleverly as a framing device for the classic story of The Little Prince, which comes to life in a very “childlike” technique of stop‐motion animation, representing the eyes and imagination of the Little Girl. The film’s music is composed by Hans Zimmer.
The long, rewarding journey to adapt Saint‐Exupéry’s classic work into a modern animated film began over eight years ago when French producers Aton Soumache, Dimitri Rassam and Alexis Vonard got the go‐ahead from Olivier d’Agay, president of the Saint‐Exupéry Estate, to develop a theatrical feature based on the property.
“We felt an enormous responsibility to do justice to this timeless novel, which is loved by so many people around the world,” says Soumache. “Anyone who reads the book has their own personal impression of the Little Prince and his world, so it’s not possible to do a straight‐forward adaptation. I remember my father reading the book to me even before I went to school, and many people have a very strong personal connection to this work. So it was very important for us to find a director who could imagine a new way of approaching this book.”
Producer Dimitri Rassam points out, “Since the book is so well known and loved all over the world, we felt that we needed to find a director who would be very respectful of the property, but would be able to deliver an entertaining, bold vision as well. It was important that the creative team would be respectful of the book’s fundamentals but didn’t feel shackled by it.”
Both Soumache and Rassam believe that they struck gold when American director Mark Osborne agreed to helm the movie. “At first Mark didn’t want to even think about it because it was too important a work, but we knew he could do a great job,” says Soumache. “He had already directed DreamWorks’ “Kung Fu Panda” which featured two very crucial Chinese cultural elements—Kung Fu and the panda—and that movie was unanimously loved and praised in China. He had found a way to take that subject very seriously. When he agreed to think about The Little Prince, he went away and thought very hard about it. Six months later, he came back with a pitch that blew us all away.”
Osborne had created a new story around the original material, which allowed everyone to revisit The Little Prince through the eyes of the Little Girl next door. “We were very lucky to have Mark, who is a talented director with such a clear vision lead the way,” says Soumache. “The fact that we are able to tell the story of the Prince using stop‐motion animation adds another wonderful layer to the film. We see the familiar illustrations by Saint‐Exupéry come to life in a real, tangible way.”
“Towards the beginning of the movie, when the Little Girl discovers the Aviator’s book for the first time, we see this stop‐motion world through her eyes, and it’s a very emotional moment,” notes Soumache. “You really get a strong connection between the CG‐animated world of the Little Girl and the stop‐motion universe of the Little Prince. It pays a wonderful tribute to the book.”
“First and foremost, Mark wanted to make a great movie, but the book and its message were both very close to his heart,” says Rassam. “I’ve seen the movie many times now, and it makes me cry every time. As a father of a three‐year‐old daughter, it really resonates with me, just as it did when my parents read the book to me when I was young. THE LITTLE PRINCE unites the family around a great story. I believe that is the heart of our movie.”
“The Little Prince” opens in Philippine cinemas nationwide December 2, 2015. Released and distributed by Captive Cinema.