Thelwell pony film in the pipeline
A new, live-action feature adaptation based on the famous illustrations by the late Norman Thelwell is in pre-production at Blenheim Films readying to shoot in North Wales later this year.
Merrylegs the Movie is based on the ‘Thelwell Ponies’, created in the 1950s by the cartoonist. The film follows Penny and Merrylegs, a timid pony who must overcome his greatest fears to find his own place in the world.
Candida Brady directs the feature, the first in a planned franchise centring on the Willowbrook Riding Stables in the remote mountains of Snowdonia. DoP Peter Field is also on board, as is stuntman/action co-ordinator Vic Armstrong.
Casting director Michelle Smith is currently seeking a young actor to play Penny, a character inspired by Thelwell’s daughter, and the search is also on to find a pony to play Merrylegs.
The film is intended for a 2023 release to mark Thelwell’s centenary.
Director Brady said: “This is a dream come to true to bring the much-loved artist Norman Thelwell’s legacy to the big screen. These iconic characters are universally treasured and we’ll be meticulous with the evolution of the ponies working with the very best in the field of creature animation to maintain Thelwell’s unique style, wonderful humour, and environmental spirit that his collection of cartoons represented. We can’t wait to introduce new audiences to the laughter, landscapes, and hilarious antics of Penny and the mischievous ponies.”
Thelwell’s daughter Penny Jones said: "I very much look forward to seeing Dad's ponies coming to life on screen so that a new generation can discover the iconic Thelwell pony - and their parents can rediscover characters they knew from his books when they were children.”
The film is set around the mountains of Carnedd Llewelyn Snowdonia in Wales.
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