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After spending over six decades as a beloved children's literature character, Curious George finally got his own feature-length animated movie in 2006. Only four years later, it was then announced that a new movie was in the works under Illumination Entertainment, the same folks behind Despicable Me. Nothing ever surfaced from that particular project afterwards, but it was announced today that the inquisitive monkey will return to the big screen with one big change: he'll be in live action.
According to Deadline, Andrew Adamson, the director of Shrek and the first two Chronicles of Narnia movies, is in talks to helm and co-write the live action take on Curious George. While George will obviously require a fair amount of CGI work to properly display his antics, the report didn't note whether the monkey will look like a CGI cartoon, similar to how Garfield looked in his live action movies, or if he'll look more realistic, like what the recent Jungle Book movie did with its animals. The Curious George movie rights still rest at Universal, and Brian Grazer and Ron Howard will produce the project with David Kirschner and Jon Shapiro and Erica Huggins.
Curious George was created in 1939 by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey for the book Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys. Two years later, he starred in his own book, and six more adventures followed on the printed page between 1947 and 1966. For those who didn't catch the stories when they were young, Curious George was discovered in the jungles of Africa by an explorer known only as the Man in the Yellow Hat, an obvious nickname, as you can tell from the above picture. The Man subsequently brought George back to the United States to live with him, but George's inherent curiosity led to numerous shenanigans. Full disclosure: in real life, it's unwise to bring a curious monkey you found in the jungle back to live with you.
2006's Curious George movie featured the voice talents of Will Ferrell as the Man in the Yellow Hat, Drew Barrymore as Maggie Dunlop (the Man's love interest), Frank Welker as George and many more. It earned a decent amount of money and many positive reviews, but a decade later, now Universal wants to bring the monkey into the real world. Given the success of recent live action/CGI animal movies, like he previously-mentioned Jungle Book and the Planet of the Apes reboots, this version of Curious George will ideally have that same financial success and appeal to younger viewers, whether they're already familiar with him or not.
We'll keep you updated on how the new Curious George movie is progressing as more details come in, including when it will eventually hit theaters.