Production is moving ahead on an adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm that is ten years in the making. Actor-director and motion-capture artist Andy Serkis is behind the project which was on hold for so long as his career was taking off. Now that he has the time, cinema’s “grittiest Alfred” wants to put a spin on the 20th-century tale that befits our times.
That’s close to how he described his idea to Total Film (courtesy of the site Slash Film). Serkis couldn’t say much about the cast or other details but he did tell the outlet he wants his Animal Farm to suit “a post-truth world.” He explained, “It’s a reimagining of Animal Farm for this generation, for a post-truth world.”
Serkis added the story will have humor but it will be subtle and appeal to all ages like films used to. “It has humor at the core of it, but the politics are sort of smuggled in underneath. It will appeal to a broad audience, and will resonate with all ages in different ways,” he said.
The filmmaker also said this is meant to be a “very contemporaneous version” that has the blessing of the Orwell estate. Such things have been said of other literary adaptations before and, as is the case with The Rings of Power, remaking classic works to reflect modernity usually dispenses with authenticity to the source material.
Being subtle and humorous with Animal Farm’s message is additionally a curious approach. The book was a stark critique of Stalin and Soviet Communism similar thematically to Orwell’s other famous story, 1984. In Animal Farm, livestock rises up against its human “oppressors” only for their utopia to fall apart when the brute pig Napoleon takes over and acts like the farmer.
Andy Serkis has made great strides behind the camera since his directorial debut in 2017, Breathe, but the mixed receptions to Venom: Let There Be Carnage and his pet project Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle might be bad signs for his execution of an Animal Farm reimagining. The project was slated for release on Netflix; that may not be the case anymore.