Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (1984– )
The cheeky children's book character is en route to the big screen via Hit Entertainment, which has hired screenwriter Josh Klausner ("Shrek the Third") to write a script for a feature based on the tiny-train world "Thomas & Friends" created by the Rev. W.V. Awdry in the 1940s.
Julia Pistor of Hit Movies, a newly launched unit of Thomas caretaker Hit Entertainment, is producing. The UTA-repped Hit also owns the Barney and Bob the Builder franchises, and it launched the film division to bring those family-oriented properties to the multiplex.
"'Thomas & Friends' is a phenomenally successful and versatile brand that appeals to children and families worldwide," said Pistor, who heads Hit Movies. "Generations of children have grown up with the adventures of 'Thomas & Friends' with its storytelling tradition, positive values, timeless lessons and rich train history. We
David Mitton directed the pilot for what was to become a runaway success in 1984 and has since directed more than 180 episodes.
His stories about Rev. Wilbert Vere Awdrey's famous blue engine and his friends have become a staple for toddlers and young children.
Mitton suffered a mild heart attack at his home in London last month. He survived a week on life support. He was 69.
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