“Charlotte’s Web” was my favorite book as a very young kind, and one of the first “novels” I really remember reading. It, along with the works of Beverly Cleary is a big part of what made me first fall in love with turning pages, and subsequently writing my own words down here for all of you. I haven’t quite reached the “Super Fudge” stratosphere yet, but I’m trying.
Well, “Charlotte’s Web” is being adapted into a film, this time live action. It’s been in movie form before, back in 1973 Hanna-Barbera put together a pretty strong animated version with Debbie Gibson as Charlotte the spider and none other than Paul Lynde as Templeton the rat. This new version looks to follow more in the mold of Babe and more recently Racing Stripes by delivering live animals that can talk.
According to Variety, Paramount has hired Julia Roberts to voice the lead role of Charlotte, Oprah Winfrey and Cedric the Entertainer as Geese, John Cleese as the voice of a sheep, Steve Buscemi (perfectly cast) as the selfish, scraggly little rat Templeton, Kathy Bates and Reba McEntire as cows, Thomas Hayden Church and Andre Benjamin as crows. Notably missing is anyone to give voice to Wilbur, and any form of casting for Farmer Zuckerman. But creepy diminutive actress Dakota Fanning has already been cast as Fern.
It’s a solid cast, though I could do without Cedric the Entertainer. I’m not sure Julia Roberts is the right way to go, but I could still be sold once I hear her. Cleese and Buscemi… well that’s just perfect. The kicker will be Wilbur. I’m hoping they have the sense to bring in at least one real voice actor, or at least avoid going for yet another big name. The adaptation of E.B. White’s classic novel appears to already have more than it’s fair share of star power.
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