Kenny Ortega to Direct WESLANDIA Children's Book Film Adaption

Shawn deLoache (The Guardians of Justice (Will Save You!), The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy) is penning the script.

By: Dec. 05, 2023
Kenny Ortega to Direct WESLANDIA Children's Book Film Adaption

Radar Pictures and Bandits Roost Entertainment are in development on the feature film adaptation of Weslandia , the international best selling children's book by Newbury Award winner Paul Fleischman.

Award-winning, hit franchise director Kenny Ortega (the High School Musical trilogy, Disney's Descendants trilogy, Hocus Pocus) has been attached to direct. 

Ortega shared: “I'm genuinely excited to announce my role as Director of the Weslandia film project. This project is right in my wheelhouse, blending heart, humor, wonder and magic – the elements I love most in storytelling and film. It's a perfect opportunity for introducing fresh, breakout talent and creating a soundtrack that powerfully propels the narrative forward. I'm eagerly looking forward to the assembling of our creative team, and to bringing this vision to the screen!”

Shawn deLoache (The Guardians of Justice (Will Save You!), The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy) is penning the script, adapting the book which won the 1999 Silver Honor by Parents' Choice Foundation.  The multi-award-winning book has inspired millions of young readers and is featured in countless school curriculums across the US. The book is beloved by children across the globe.

When tween-genius-loner Wes moves to his new home in Plainville, he thinks his life is going to be, well, plain! Little does he know he's soon to be tangled up, literally, in a mysterious alien jungle growing in his backyard. But when the seemingly utopian civilization he creates as well as the entire town come under threat, Wes will have to do the unthinkable– band together with new friends to stop the evil supernatural forces from destroying everything he now holds dear.

The family action adventure film is a collaboration between Radar Pictures and Bandits Roost Entertainment, an award-winning NYC-based film, television, theater and new media development and production company.

“Bandits Roost is thrilled to be working alongside such incredible creatives to bring Wes' world to life,” said Bandits Roost co-founder Cori Silberman. “This film will send kids on an adventure that shows them that through imagination and collaboration, creating a better world is truly in their hands”.

Ted Field (Jumanji, the Riddick franchise), Anthony Tringali, Michael Napoliello and Maria Frisk will produce for Radar. Cori Silberman and Michael Dovid will produce for Bandits Roost Entertainment. 

Field shared: “Weslandia is the first children's book since Jumanji that fully captured my imagination and I feel very privileged to be able to bring it to the big screen with a filmmaker as talented as Kenny Ortega.”

Radar Pictures is an independent development company that leverages high-profile IP to produce motion pictures and television for the global marketplace. The film will be executive produced by Radar's Ted Field, whose 30 years in the film industry have led to worldwide box office grosses topping $10 billion.

He has produced more than 60 films, including the Jumanji franchise, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and Ferngully. Field is currently producing a number of epic television series, including Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time," one of Amazon's top series worldwide. 

Bandits Roost Entertainment is producing the feature adaptation of the best-selling novel The Coldest Winter Ever by author and activist Sister Souljah, as well as developing adaptations of American Savior by Roland Merullo and several new musicals aimed for Broadway. Bandits co-produced the Tony-winning Natasha Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, and is co-founder of Broadstream, a new arts streaming platform.

Radar Pictures is repped by Buchwald, Kenny Ortega is repped by Valarie Philips at A3 Artists Agency and Paul Fleischman is with CAA.

Photo by Craig Sjodin