Cannes: Kevin Munroe to Direct Chinese Animated Trolls Feature (Exclusive)

Troll: The Tale of a Tail - P 2016
Global Genesis Group

Co-produced by China's Spring Era Period Films, 'Troll: The Tale of a Tail' is being animated in both English and Chinese versions.

Filmmaker Kevin Munroe, best known for writing and directing Ratchet & Clank (2015) and TMNT (2007), has signed on to co-direct Troll: The Tale of a Tail (also known as The Zhou Rao Kingdom for the Chinese market), a big-budget animated feature based on a classic work of Chinese literature. 

The film will be animated in both English and Chinese versions to appeal to both international and Chinese audiences — a strategy pursued most recently by DreamWorks Animation for Kung Fu Panda 3.

The picture is co-produced by China's Spring Era Period Films, China Lion Entertainment and Canada-based Blue Bug Entertainment. Made with a budget of $18 million, the project is a Chinese-Norwegian-Canadian co-production. Production is underway, and the partners are targeting a Christmas 2017 release date in China and North America.

Monroe will helm the film alongside newcomer Kristian Kamp. Animation veteran Eric Lessard (Shrek, Madagascar and Antz) has joined the project as animation supervisor.

Global Genesis Group is handling worldwide sales (excluding China) and shopping the project at the Cannes Marche du Film this week.

Based on the ancient Chinese text The Book of Mountains and Seas (Shan Hai Jing), the film centers on Chui Mu, a young troll prince? of the ?Zhou Rao Kingdom. When Chui Mu's father, King Zhou Mo's tail is snatched by a human Troll Hunter, he turns to stone. With King Zhou Mo gone, the once idyllic troll valley falls under the tyrannical rule of his cousin Chuan. Chui Mu and Freia, a feisty troll girl, with their two-headed eccentric friend Jutul, must risk their lives in an epic journey into the human world to retrieve Chui Mu’s father's tail, conquer Chuan and his army, and bring King Zhou Mo back to life and to his throne.

"We are very pleased to have director Munroe join forces with Mr. Kamp and our animation director, Eric Lessard," said Jian-min Lu, chairman of Spring Era Period Films. "The Book of Mountain and Seas has many wonderful mythological stories from ancient China. Our hope is to make 'the Zhou Rao Kingdom' the spearhead for a series of top quality 3D animation films based on this famous treasure of classic Chinese literature. Our goal is not only to entertain Chinese children and their parents but children and parents all over the world."

Added Kevin Munroe: "Being given the chance to tell this comedic adventure story is a dream come true as a director. I'm excited to share this wonderful tale of fantasy with the world."