According to a Variety report, former Spider-Man Tobey Maguire is teaming with Fox Animation, WedgeWorks and graphic novelist Doug TenNapel to bring TenNapel’s “Cardboard” graphic novel to the big screen, with WedgeWorks’ Chris Wedge producing and directing. Maguire’s production shingle Material Pictures, TenNapel and Gotham Group will executive produce. Maguire will most likely voice one of the main animated characters.
The comic book, which was published at the beginning of the month by Graphix, is, according to the Variety report, about “an impoverished widower who gives a disappointing birthday present to his young son– a cardboard box. Making the best out of a bad situation, they turn the box into a boxer named Bill that magically comes to life, attracting the attention of a neighborhood bully with evil plans.”
Sounds pretty cool to us, and the perfect material for Wedge, who directed the first “Ice Age,” “Robots,” and oversees the Blue Sky Animation Studio in Greenwich, Connecticut. At one point he was tapped to make his live action directorial debut with “Hugo,” actually, and when he faced production issues with his next film, “Epic,” briefly threatened to decamp to Pixar. (Blue Sky held onto him and the movie is out next spring.)
Douglas TenNepal created the “Earthworm Jim” character that spawned an animated series and a popular videogame. In recent years he has been particularly prolific, writing and drawing a number of critically well-received and popular graphic novels, among the very best of them is the robot western “Iron West” and the hardboiled detective book “Black Cherry.”
Here’s the thing… Douglas TenNepal is kind of a horrible person. We noticed it first with the overabundance of a particular homophobic slur in “Black Cherry,” and then saw some of his posts online, declaring America to be one kick-ass country, mostly because of the devoted Christians contained therein. He described his opposition to gay marriage in this way: “The same argument I have against letting a man take a dump in the ladies room. An office appropriate for one sex isn’t automatically appropriate for another, no matter how much a man loves taking a dump in the ladies room.” Uh, what?
Anyway, we hope TenNepal’s wizardry with the pen and his innate knack for storytelling comes through in “Cardboard” and not his repugnant personal politics. We’re assuming that “Cardboard” will be completely animated, although the vague nature of the Variety report leaves room for interpretation (Fox Animation, after all, is the umbrella term for all animation done at Fox, including films with live-action elements like “Alvin and the Chipmunks“).