Saloon’s “Playing With Fire Cartoon” Upcoming Animated Feature My Father’s Dragon
To mark World Book Day, which took place on April 23, Netflix has unveiled a preview of the upcoming animation from Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, My Father’s Dragon. Based in Kilkenny and founded in 1999, the five-time Oscar-nominated production house has gained global recognition over the past two decades with their enchanting Irish folk trilogy: The Book of Kells (2009), Song of the Sea (2014 ) and Wolf Walkers (2020). Each film draws children into natural wonders of myth and magic, into tales of protection and healing rather than combat.
However, on paper, My Father’s Dragon seems to have more in common with Cartoon Saloon’s outlier: 2018’s feature The Breadwinner, which tones down the signature bright color palette and harkens back to fairies and magic in order to deliver a reflected from Kabul under Taliban rule. For one thing, it has the same director: Nora Twomey, Oscar nominee and co-founder of Cartoon Saloon. And like The Breadwinner, My Father’s Dragon is adapted – inspired by Newbery’s Honored Book of the same title by Ruth Stiles Gannett.
The story follows Elmer, a young boy struggling to cope after moving to town with his mother. He runs away from home in search of Wild Island and a young dragon waiting to be rescued. Elmer’s adventures see him encounter ferocious beasts, a mysterious island, and the friendship of a lifetime.
A press release from Netflix, as part of the company’s first partnership with the animation powerhouse, listed a star-studded cast of household names. Lend your voice to
Elmer is Jacob Tremblay,
best known for his star turn in Room (2016), directed by Dubliner Lenny Abrahamson, no less. Joining the young actor is an impressive cast including Whoopi Goldberg, Ian McShane, Chris O’Dowd, Rita Moreno, Alan Cumming, Judy Greer, Yara Shahidi, Jackie Earle Haley, Mary Kay Place and Dianne Wiest.
“Our Cartoon Saloon actors, animators and artists worked together to create this film, inspired by Ruth Stiles Gannett’s amazing book. We were drawn in by a desire to tell a very special story of friendship, adventure and true bravery,” Twomey said. “I fell in love with storytelling as a kid, and Netflix is great at celebrating all kinds of stories, through different styles and distinct voices,” the director added. given the opportunity to look through a beautiful lens and I’m excited to share what I see with our audience around the world.”
Disney fans will be delighted to hear that the screenplay for the film was written by Oscar-nominated Meg LeFauve of Inside Out. Elsewhere behind the scenes, the film will be produced by Bonnie Curtis and Julie Lynn of Mockingbird Pictures (best known for producing the 2011 Dublin drama Albert Knobbs) and Paul Young of Cartoon Saloon. Meg LeFauve and John Morgan, Tomm Moore and Gerry Shirren of Cartoon Saloon, and Alan Moloney and Ruth Coady of Parallel Films will produce the film.
Fans of Cartoon Saloon’s wise and wonderful creations won’t have to venture to the movies this time around; My Father’s Dragon is set to release via Netflix. That’s no surprise given the streaming giant’s growing obsession with animated movies. Over the past few years, they’ve released a string of original animated features, including Oscar-nominated The Mitchell’s vs the Machines, Robin Robin, the new Klaus Christmas classic, Kris Pearn’s The Willoughbys; as well as more adult-oriented content like Richard Linklater’s Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood and the French existential adventure I Lost My Body. As for My Father’s Dragon, an official release date has yet to be announced by Netflix. What is certain, however, is that this one is one to watch.
Images: courtesy of Cartoon Saloon