Harold and the Purple Pencil Adds Zooey Deschanel to Film Adaptation


Zooey Deschanel is the most recent name drawn for the next Harold and the purple pencil film adaptations, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Deschanel joins Zacharie Levi and Lil Rel Howery in undisclosed roles. The film is said to be live-action, following the trend of adapting children’s books to the screen that feature CGI characters alongside human actors. Recent adaptations include Clifford the big red dogthe beloved Paddington franchise, Peter Rabbit.

The film will follow the story of Crockett JohnsonThe 1955 children’s book. The classic book centers on the titular Harold, who uses his magical purple crayon to create his own world. Harold and his ability to draw things from reality became an instant hit with readers and spawned six more books in the series. David Guion and Michael Handelman are credited as screenwriters of the film along with the Oscar-nominated director Carlos Saldanha set to direct. Guion and Handelman previously worked together on Dinner for Schmucks and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.


This is not the first attempt at adapting the series. The beloved book has already been made into a 13-episode TV series for HBO, adapted by Adelaide Productions. The series was narrated by Sharon Stone and featured Connor Matheus like Harold’s voice. The most successful adaptation to date, the animated series won a Daytime Emmy Award for Main Title Design and was nominated for an Annie Award.

Image via Lionsgate

RELATED: ‘New Girl’: Zooey Deschanel, Hannah Simone & Lamorne Morris to Host Rewatch PodcastThe story of the film adaptation of the book is a bit more complicated, with plans dating back to 2009 when Spike Jonze intended to direct and produce his version. The project was abandoned and changed hands several times, jumping from Steven Spielbergfrom Amblin Entertainment to Will Smith‘s Overbook Entertainment and ultimately landed in the hands of Columbia Pictures. Guion and Handelman replace previous screenwriters Dallas Clayton and Josh Klausner. Josh Davis produced under its Davis Entertainment banner.

Deschanel is best known for her role as Jess on the Fox sitcom new girl for which she earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and three Golden Globe Awards. She is also known for her appearances in movies (500 days of summer, Elfand Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Deschanel received a 2011 Grammy Award nomination for his song “So Long” featured on the Winnie the Pooh soundtrack.

With an increasingly confident cast, this adaptation of Harold and the purple pencil is sure to be a hit with kids and parents alike. Like the many children’s adaptations happening right now, the film will find its fan base with new readers and nostalgic fans.

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