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For all the things that Hollywood has going for it, there just isn’t enough Albert Brooks going around out there. A talented writer and director, Brooks has the acting chops to turn menacing in a drama or be the funniest guy in the room when he’s in a comedy. The problem is, he’s a lot less prolific than his thespian brethren, and I can’t keep it to myself. (Broadcast News, anyone?) Deadline reports he’ll be lending his vocal talents to the upcoming animated adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry celebrated novella The Little Prince for Paramount. It’s not the best we could have hoped for, but he’s definitely a solid addition to this already impressive cast.
Unfortunately, as with most of the other actors, there’s no real sign of who Brooks will be voicing, and it’s only mentioned that he’ll play “one of the film’s villains.” That’s a strange description, since there aren’t any real villains in The Little Prince, so to speak. It’s possible he could play one of the foolish men that the asteroid-hopping youth met in his journeys, but chances are he’ll be playing the snake, whose actions we won’t be spoiling here.
This most recent adaptation of the classic children's book will be directed by Mark Osborne of Kung Fu Panda and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie fame, from a script written by Irena Brignull, who also wrote the upcoming Laika stop-motion animation The Boxtrolls. Jeff Bridges is confirmed to be voicing the narrator pilot whose plane crashes in the Sahara, where he meets the small titular man, who is thought to be voiced by Mackenzie Foy, though that might not be correct at all. They are joined by James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Benicio Del Toro, Marion Cotillard and Paul Giamatti, making this quite a high-profile project. And I can’t wait for it, as children’s films these days are in serious need of the introspective and philosophical genius that make Exupéry’s work so timeless.
In a recent interview, McAdams talked excitedly to the Belfast Telegraph about the currently-in-production film, saying, “It’s a little bit of a modernization, but it’s got tons of tributes to the book and to the drawings and to the world we expect The Little Prince to be.” The term “modernization” gives me chills.
This is the second upcoming project which will feature Brooks’ voicework, as he’ll be reprising his role as Marlin the sequel Finding Dory for Pixar. He was last seen in Judd Apatow’s This is 40, but had a far more memorable role opposite Ryan Gosling in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Who knows, maybe he’ll be headed back to The Simpsons soon, which he does every few years.
Brooks, who directed 2005’s Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, recently entered the political spotlight after tweeting the U.S. and Russia should team up to take the chemical weapons out of Syria, something that may actually become a reality. On that note, let’s relive Brooks’ memorable Flip Wilson appearance where he entertained the idea of a revised Star-Spangled Banner.