Banking on Mr. Toad

With Game of Thrones approaching its final season, its stars are soon going to be moving on to other projects. But here’s a follow-up I don’t think any of us foresaw: actress Lena Headey, who plays the fierce and cunning Cersei Lannister in the HBO fantasy series, is in talks to star in a film called Banking on Mr. Toad, which will blend live-action and CGI to tell the story of Kenneth Grahame, the author of the successful children’s novel Wind in the Willows.

Variety tells us that this movie has been in the works for years, and that Toby Kebbell (Kong: Skull Island, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) is attached to play Grahame while Headey will play his wife Elsie – as long as the deal goes through. Brian Blessed will play Frederick James Furnivall, a friend and confidante of Grahame’s. Here’s more:

Banking on Mr. Toad follows Grahame, Elsie, and their young son Alastair, who struggled with health problems, many of which could not be properly treated at the time. The family’s troubles are eased by the “Wind in the Willows” and its success. The “banking” part of the titles alludes to the fact that Grahame was secretary of the Bank of England in 1908 when he penned his famous novel.

This sounds like the latest entry in a recent trend of movies about the true lives of famous children’s book authors, following in the wake of Saving Mr. Banks (which was about Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers) and this year’s Goodbye Christopher Robin (which tells the tale of Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne). One of the problems with these stories is that they’re often not particularly cinematic, but at least Banking on Mr. Toad plans to mix things up by incorporating some CGI elements – presumably animated versions of Toad, Mole, Rat, and Badger.

Wind in the Willows has been adapted for the big screen many times in the past, perhaps most notably in the 1949 Disney movie The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, which provides the basis for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, truly one of the craziest rides at Disneyland. (It ends with the audience “dying” and driving through hell!) And here’s a cool piece of trivia: WETA was working on a Wind in the Willows adaptation a few years ago and even released concept images and a brief teaser trailer, but that project seems to have fallen apart in the intervening years.

Banking on Mr. Toad begins shooting this coming spring at Pinewood Studios, and there’s no scheduled release date set at this time.

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