Constantin Begins Production on 'Dragon Rider'

Dragon Rider
Courtesy of Constantin Film

'Gnomeo & Juliet' writer Johnny Smith penned the screenplay for the adaptation of the Cornelia Funke best-seller.

German mini-major Constantin Film has begun production on the animated feature Dragon Rider, based on the best-selling fantasy novel by author Cornelia Funke (Inkheart).

Johnny Smith, one of the screenwriters on Disney's 2011 hit Gnomeo & Juliet, adapted Funke's novel for the screen, with award-winner German shorts animator Tomer Eshed directing in what will be his feature debut.

Funke's 1997 book, which has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide, follows the adventures of Firedrake, a silver dragon who teams up with a human boy and the Brownie Sorrel to search for a mythical land where Firedrake's family can live in peace, safe from the humans who want to flood the valley where the dragons live.

Belgium firm Cyborn and Munich-based Rise FX South Studios are developing the visual effects for the film. Constantin's Martin Moszkowicz and Oliver Berben are producing.

Constantin produced the successful German teen franchise Wild Chicks, based on Funke's series of books. The German author has also seen a number of her novels adapted into English-language movies, including 2008's Inkheart from director Iain Softley starring Brendan Fraser and Helen Mirren, and Richard Claus's The Thief Lord in 2006 with Aaron Taylor-Johnson.