Sunday, February 25, 2018

Glen Keane To Direct Chinese Folktale-Inspired Feature, 'Over The Moon'

Glen Keane with his early character drawings of the film's "spunky protagonist"
Note: Karlan Tam's series of paintings for 'The Jade Rabbit of the Moon', shown throughout this post (with credits added below each), are NOT related to the animation project. We're spotlighting them since they give a lovely visual overview of one of the story variations. Enjoy!

Though it's not clear which version of the Chinese tale, 'Lady of the Moon', inspired the new film-to-be Over The Moon (to be directed by the well-loved Disney veteran*), there's a good chance there will be a rabbit - or hare - in the story. There are a number of versions of the Lady of the Moon folktale, some of which have the rabbit, with its jade mortar and pestle, as the central character, rather than a colorful detail. The Moon Rabbit, or Jade Hare, legend is widely spread through much of Asia, not just China, and even has a mid-Autumn festival based on it.
From The Jade Rabbit of the Moon series by Karlan Tam
We recommend visiting HERE to check out the variations on the Moon Rabbit. The article has simple, clear summaries with bonus images to give you an overview.
From The Jade Rabbit of the Moon series by Karlan Tam
But back to Glen Keane's new project. The animated film, 'Over The Moon' is described as:
"...a musical adventure feature film about a girl who builds a rocket ship and blasts off to the moon in hopes of meeting a legendary Moon Goddess."
Keane, sounding very enthusiastic about the project, had this to say:
“I am powerfully drawn to characters who believe the impossible is possible. ‘Over the Moon’ has just such a heroine as its centerpiece. The compelling script by Audrey Wells has tremendous heart and humor that called to me and I had to respond. I’m honored to bring this story to life alongside my producer Gennie Rim. We are both looking forward to creating a wonderful film and partnership with Melissa Cobb at Netflix and Peilin Chou at Pearl Studio.”
Keane’s early drawings of the main character, Fei Fei
Pearl Studio looks to be one to keep an eye on. Here are some details from Slashfilm that will interest fairy tale and folklore people too:
The film will be an intriguing first test for Pearl Studio, which is mostly known for its work co-producing Kung Fu Panda 3. The burgeoning studio has yet to produce its own full-length feature, but it has several films planned aside from Over the Moon, including the Yeti-themed Everest and The Monkey King. With the hole left by Studio Ghibli, Pearl Studio is one of the many animation studios tussling for its top spot. And by collaborating with Keane, they’ve just raised their profile significantly. 
From The Jade Rabbit of the Moon series by Karlan Tam
“We are thrilled to partner with the brilliant Glen Keane, one of the most creative and visionary directors working in animation, and the team at Pearl Studio on the magical Over the Moon,” said Netflix’s Melissa Cobb. “Full of imagination and adventure, and set against a visually stunning backdrop that only Keane and writer Audrey Wells and their teams could create, we know Over the Moon will fascinate and inspire our Netflix members around the world.”
From The Jade Rabbit of the Moon series by Karlan Tam
From The Jade Rabbit of the Moon series by Karlan Tam
Color us intrigued!

Over The Moon will be released in 2020 theatrically in China and around the world by Netflix.

*Glen Keane is most known for creating the title characters of Disney animated classic films The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Aladdin, Tarzan and Rapunzel in Tangled.

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