A live-action movie based on the classic children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon is moving forward with Shazam! star Zachary Levi in a lead role. From Sony Pictures, the adaptation is written by David Guion and Michael Handelman (Night of the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Dinner for Schmucks). John Davis (Dolemite Is My Name, Disney’s Jungle Cruise) is producing through David Entertainment. A director hasn’t yet been named.
Harold and the Purple Crayon was first published in 1955. Written by Crockett Johnson, the book tells the story of a four-year-old boy who creates an entire world by drawing it with a special purple crayon, culminating with him drawing his own house and bed so he can go to sleep. It’s such a simple premise, but the story was a big hit, bringing about six sequels in the following years and concluding with Harold’s ABC in 1963.
In 2002, Adelaide Productions developed a 13-episode animated series for HBO based on the original book. Narrated by Sharon Stone and featuring Connor Matheus as the voice of Harold, the series won the Daytime Emmy Award for Main Title Design. Each episode followed Harold using the purple crayon to explore new worlds while learning valuable life lessons along the way.
There have been attempts to develop a big screen reimagining of Harold and the Purple Crayon for more than a decade. It was reported in 2010 that Warner Bros. and Columbia Pictures were teaming up for a Harold movie with Josh Klausner writing and James Lassiter and Will Smith producing. It was later reported in 2016 that Dallas Clayton was going to write the screenplay for a CGI-animated movie version of the story. At one point, Spike Jonze was trying to make a Harold movie as well, but his vision never made it to fruition either.
No details about this new direction for the Harold and the Purple Crayon movie have been revealed beyond that it will be a “live-action adaptation.” It’s also unclear if Levi is meant to play Harold, perhaps as an older version of the character, or someone else involved in the story. It’s also possible he could serve as the narrator in the way Sharon Stone had for the animated HBO series. In any case, this is all speculation at this point until more information is divulged about the project.
Zachary Levi might be best known for playing the titular superhero in the DCEU movie Shazam!, which was released in 2019. A box office success, the movie already has a sequel in the works with Levi set to reprise the role. Called Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the sequel is set to be released on June 2, 2023. Additionally, Levi is also known for starring in the TV series Chuck and has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Fandral in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok.
There’s no word yet on when Harold and the Purple Crayon might begin production, but given how long the idea’s already been languishing in development hell, I wouldn’t get too excited about the movie adaptation just yet. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.