Blenheim Films has today announced they will releasing an adaption feature Merrylegs the Movie based on the cherished Thelwell Ponies. This live-action version will be directed by acclaimed director Candida Brady (Trashed, Urban and The Shed Crew, Muse).
The Thelwell Ponies, created in the 1950s by late cartoonist Norman Thelwell, and considered national treasures will come trotting onto screens in ‘Merrylegs the Movie’, a feature-length adventure that promises to entertain and inspire both a whole new generation as well as those who have loved the characters for many years.
The film is set to be the first instalment in a planned franchise that will establish the characters and Willowbrook Riding Stables, set in the beautiful remote mountains in Snowdonia, Wales. The film follows Penny and Merrylegs, a timid pony who must overcome his greatest fears to find his own place in the world.
No cast has been officially announced yet, but certainly under way. Especially for the role of Penny a character inspired by Thelwell’s daughter. That task will go to Michelle Smith (The Runaways, Aladdin, Once Upon a Time in London) .
Merrylegs and the other ponies will be brought to life all thanks VFX and Peter Field (Bond franchise, Wonder Woman 1984, Fast & Furious 9) and expert horseman Vic Armstrong (The Amazing Spider-Man, Bond franchise, Thor).
The film is intended for a 2023 release to mark and celebrate Norman Thelwell’s centenary, one of the 20th century’s most beloved and well-known British children’s authors, his collection of 34 books continue to sell millions of copies worldwide, translated into a variety of languages and remains one of the only British heritage family franchises fully unexploited for film.
Director Candida Brady explained: “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.”
Norman 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.”
While son David Thelwell added: “Blenheim Films are also developing a television series about my father’s life and work based on his autobiographies, which just like his cartoons, were extremely popular and we still have many of the fan letters sent to him at the time. He would have been thrilled that his life and work will be turned into tv programmes and films and so are we.”