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Elizabeth Banks will play Ms. Frizzle in the live-action hybrid adaptation of the beloved books and ’90s animated series The Magic School Bus.
Scholastic Entertainment will develop the film along with Banks’ Brownstone Productions, Mary Poppins Returns banner Marc Platt Productions and Universal Pictures.
The film is based on the best-selling Scholastic book series by author Joanna Cole and illustrator Bruce Degen, which follows intrepid Ms. Frizzle and her class, who set out on field trips in their yellow school bus that magically transforms into a plane, submarine, spaceship or surfboard, depending on the science concept being explored in class.
The property was first adapted into an animated TV series for PBS, featuring Lily Tomlin as Ms. Frizzle, which aired for 18 consecutive years in the U.S. and has been broadcast in more than 100 countries around the world. An animated sequel to the original series, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, with Kate McKinnon as Ms. Frizzle’s sister, Fiona, debuted on Netflix in 2017.
The Banks-fronted feature will be the first big-screen adaptation for the 26-year history of the brand.
Producing will be Banks and Max Handelman for Brownstone, Iole Lucchese and Caitlin Friedman for Scholastic Entertainment, and Marc Platt and Adam Siegel for Marc Platt Productions. Brownstone’s Alison Small will executive produce.
Ryan Christians from Marc Platt Productions will oversee production with Sara Scott and Lexi Barta from Universal Pictures.
“We are delighted to bring to life the iconic Ms. Frizzle and her zest for knowledge and adventure in a fresh new way that inspires the next generation of kids to explore science and supports the dedicated teachers who help make science real and accessible for young learners every day,” said Lucchese.
Scholastic’s other recent Hollywood projects include Sony’s Goosebumps movies and the upcoming live-action/animation hybrid adaptation of Clifford the Big Red Dog, which is due out this November via Paramount. A live-action Animorphs movie is also in the works with Picturestart.
Banks was last onscreen in FX series Mrs. America and Sony’s Charlie’s Angels, which she also directed. She is repped by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham.
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