8:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Gina Rodriguez, Jake Johnson to Star in Netflix Family Drama 'Lost Ollie'
Netflix is assembling a stellar cast for its forthcoming live-action/animated take on author and illustrator William Joyce's book Ollie's Odyssey.
Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), Jake Johnson (New Girl) and youngster Kesler Talbot (50 States of Fright) will star in the live-action portion of the limited family drama series from Stranger Things exec producer Shawn Levy. Jonathan Groff (Hamilton, Frozen), Mary J. Blige (Power Book II: Ghost) and Tim Blake Nelson (Watchmen) will lead the voice cast.
Picked up to series in October, the four-episode Lost Ollie tells the story of a lost toy on an epic adventure, searching across the country for the boy who owned him, and the story of the boy who lost more than a best friend.
Groff will voice Ollie, the handmade toy rabbit who has been best friends with Billy until one day he ends up in a resale shop with no way home. He sets off on a path to find Billy. Talbot will play Billy, the young boy who embarks on a mission to find his lost toy. Gina Rodriguez will play Billy's mother, Sharon, who inspires her son's creativity. Johnson is set as Billy's overworked and stressed-out father, James.
Blige will voice Rosy, a teddy bear who becomes Ollie's ally on his quest to find Billy. Nelson rounds out the voice cast as Zozo, a clown doll with an old soul who also agrees to help Ollie on his journey.
Shannon Tindle (Coraline) created the series and penned the scripts. He exec produces alongside Levy and Josh Barry via their Netflix-based 21 Laps Entertainment banner, Flight School Studios' Brandon Oldenburg, Lampton Enochs and Peter Ramsey (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), with the latter on board to direct all episodes. Animation will be done via Industrial Light + Magic (The Mandalorian), which is creating CGI characters for the series. Production is currently underway in Vancouver.
The series has been in the works for more than four years and was one of the first projects that Netflix director of YA/family series Teddy Biaselli picked up after joining the streamer. "I saw in it the universal story of loss that all of us, no matter how old, could relate to," Biaselli wrote in a Netflix blog post tied to the show's formal green light last fall.
Rodriguez is repped by WME and Jackoway Austen; Johnson is with UTA and Jackoway Austen; Groff is with CAA and George Sheanshang; Blige is with APA and Granderson Des Rochers; and Nelson is with UTA, Gateway Management and Bloom Hergott.
A premiere date for Lost Ollie has not yet been determined.