*Paula Patton has lined up a new family adventure film based on British author Jacqueline Wilson’s bestselling novel, “Four Kids and It,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Principal photography on the feature – adapted from the bestselling 2012 novel (which itself is based on the 1902 book Five Children and It by E. Nesbit.) – began earlier this week on location in Ireland, with Andy De Emmony (Father Ted) directing.
Russell Brand, Michael Caine and Matthew Goode are also in the film, which follows the story of four children who are horrified to learn that their beach holiday is in fact a bonding trip with their potential future step siblings, engineered by new couple, the workaholic Alice (Patton) and endearingly awkward David (Goode). During an argument, they accidentally find a Psammead, a magical, sandy, grumpy creature called IT who can grant them one wish a day, only to see the wish cancelled as soon as the sun sets. The kids must learn to work together and choose their wishes wisely after an evil villain (played by Brand) makes it his mission to steal the Psammead for himself.
The kids at the center of the film are played by up-and-comer Ashley Aufderheide (Infinitely Polar Bear, Going in Style) and Teddie Malleson-Allen (Swallows and Amazons) who play two 13 year-old girls alongside Billy Jenkins (The Crown, Humans) and theatrical performer Ellie-Mae Siame who play their younger siblings.
The mythical IT, voiced by Caine, is designed by acclaimed creature creators Brian and Wendy Froud. Brian Foud was the conceptual character designer for Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth and Wendy Froud was the original creator of Star Wars’ Yoda. The digitally created Psammead used in the film is being built by creature effects company MILK – the company behind the Oscar-winning visual effects in Ex Machina.
“From the moment we first read Jacqueline Wilson’s novel, a magical story combining a comic truthfulness about contemporary family life with the timeless wish fulfillment of E. Nesbit’s classic tale, we knew it was a compelling mix for audiences both young and old,” said producers Julie Baines and Anne Brogan. “We are thrilled to have a stellar cast bring this treasured story to life.”