Morrowland Comes Alive Today!
19 Oct 2016
London/ Morrowland / Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany, Oct. 17, 2016 – The big day is finally here: After 17 years of preparation, everything is ready for the long-awaited live-action version of Michael Ende's world-famous children's classic JIM BUTTON AND LUKE THE ENGINE DRIVER, perhaps his most enduring favorite along with "The Neverending Story", which was also turned into a hit movie beloved the world over.
Helmed by star director Dennis Gansel ("The Wave", "Mechanic Resurrection"), this unique fantasy world and its timeless story of friendship, courage and camraderie comes to life on the big screen with plenty of eye candy and a passionate love of the craft. "JIM BUTTON was always the epitome of fantasy and adventure for me. Filming it now is a dream come true", said Gansel, who will spend 60 days of shooting in the legendary world of Morrowland, Dragon City, Mandala, the Region of Black Rocks, the desert and the high seas, based on a screenplay by Dirk Ahner, Sebastian Niemann and Andrew Birkin. Shooting will take place in Berlin-Babelsberg, Bavaria Studios Munich, and Cape Town, South Africa.
It's a dream come true for producer Christian Becker, too ("Wickie the Viking", "Hui Buh the Goofy Ghost", "Suck Me, Shakespeer"): "After an incredible 14 years of preparation, I'm especially happy to be able to realize this big-screen adaptation ofone of the world's most endureing and cherished kid's classics, together with Warner Brothers and WB Germany head Willi Geike. And I'm very happy to have not just an internationally successful director on board with Dennis Gansel, but a close personal friend whom I've known and worked with since film school. I'm also looking forward to the incredible sets production designer Matthias Müsse and his team are conjuring up. But the greatest thing is having such an amazing cast – led by Solomon Gordon as Jim Button and star Henning Baum as Luke the Engine Driver – a real buddy and adoptive dad any orphan boy would dream of having."
Alongside Solomon Gordon and Henning Baum, the ensemble includes comedy star Annette Frier as Mrs Whaat, hit comic Christoph Maria Herbst as loyal royal subject Mr Sleeve, and veteran A-lister Uwe Ochsenknecht as Morrowland's King Alphonse the Quarter-to-Twelvth. Comics Milan Pechel plays mock giant Tur Tur, and Rick Kavanian is the Wild 13. The role of CGI dragon Mrs Grindtooth was played by Academy Award® winning actress Shirley MacLaine, and top German comic Michael "Bully" Herbig voices the half-dragon Nepomuk.
The stories around JIM BUTTON AND LUKE THE ENGINE DRIVER, written by Michael Ende, are among the most successful German-language children's books, and have sold over 35 million copies, 20 million in Germany alone. The first volume JIM BUTTON sold approx. 5 million copies in Germany, and spun off a successful TV puppet series that is still aired to this day.
JIM BUTTON AND LUKE THE ENGINE DRIVER is produced by Rat Pack Film Production, co-produced with Warner Bros. Film Productions Germany, Malao Inc., Studio Babelsberg AG, and Bavaria Studios & Production Services GmbH. The production will receive film funding from Media Board Berlin-Brandenburg, FFF Film & TV Fund Bavaria, MFG Film Fund Baden-Württemberg, FFA Federal Film Board, DFFF German Film Fund, and the German Motion Picture Fund. World Sales will be handled by Timeless Films (London) / Constantin Film.
Warner Bros. Pictures Germany will release JIM BUTTON AND LUKE THE ENGINE DRIVER in German theaters in 2018.