Will Ferrell, Adam McKay Bringing Cult Show Manimal To The Big Screen

Adam McKay and Will Ferrell know how to make unusual situations funny – from reading the news (Anchorman) to NASCAR (Talladega Nights). So when we hear that they are tackling the short-lived and completely bizarre NBC drama Manimal for a potential feature, we hardly bat an eye.

You didn’t watch Manimal? I can’t say that I blame you. The television program only ran from September 30 to December 17, 1983 – amassing only eight episodes. Can that be right? The description on Wikipedia is so perfect, I just want to share it with you in its entirety.

The show centers on the character Dr. Jonathan Chase (Simon MacCorkindale), a shape-shifting man who possessed the ability to turn himself into any animal he chose. He used this ability to help the police solve crimes."

Which brings us back to Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. Don’t worry. I’ll hurry back to Manimal. It’s too great not to obsess over. But for now, Deadline reports that the Anchorman duo will produce a Manimal movie through their Gary Sanchez Productions. Key & Peele executive producer Jay Martel and Ian Roberts have been tapped to write the screenplay, and that’s a very good sign. In an intriguing bit of information, Deadline says that the movie will rely on "heavy visual effects and animated elements."

What they don’t say is whether or not Will Ferrell will take the role of Jonathan Chase – the shape-shifting crime fighter. Chances are probably good, as a project like Manimal is right up the alley of the actor who tried to being back both Bewitched and Land of the Lost. Seriously, Will, you don’t have to remake every TV show you watched growing up.

About the project, McKay cheekily says:

"Like The Catcher In The Rye or The Sound And The Fury, Manimal has always been one of those elusive projects every producer dreams of taking to the silver screen. I know the movie will be funny and entertaining, but will it be the first film to win a Pulitzer? We’ll just have to see."

At the very least, the Academy Award. Aim high, McKay! No clue as to when Manimal might reach theaters. While you wait, enjoy the opening credits to the NBC show:

We will continue to track Manimal’s every crucial step from page to screen.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.