High in the Clouds – Paul McCartney's 2023 animated film
“High in the Clouds” is an animated film based on the book, written by the famous former Beatle musician and singer-songwriter, Paul McCartney together with Philip Ardagh and illustrated by Geoff Dunbar, it was published in 2005 by Faber and Faber. McCartney and Dunbar, who had previously collaborated on the 1984 animated film “Rupert and the Frog Song,” spent several years developing “High in the Clouds” as a potential film.
The adventure begins when Woodland, the protagonists' home, is devastated by urban development. Wirral, a young squirrel, finds himself without a place to live and without his mother. Guided by her last words and aided by the animal friends he meets on her path, Wirral embarks on a quest to find the secret island of Animalia, a safe haven for animals. During this epic journey, he and his friends face challenges between reality and dream, through moments of tragedy, war, joy and victory, all in the name of freedom and peace.
Themes and messages
The story has a powerful message regarding the preservation of nature and the right of animals to live free in their natural habitat. Not surprisingly, The Observer described the book as “a story about the dangers of unregulated global capitalism.”
The film adaptation
After years of development and director changes, with Timothy Reckart at the helm and Jon Croker as screenwriter, it seemed that the film was destined to become a Netflix Original title. However, despite the collaboration with Gaumont and Paul McCartney's initial enthusiasm about the partnership with Netflix, the production took an unexpected turn. The release, originally scheduled for the summer of 2023 on Netflix, was postponed and the streaming platform stopped the collaboration. Now, “High in the Clouds” will be produced independently by Gaumont Animation.
Waiting for release
The film adaptation promises to be an emotional journey, enhanced by McCartney's original music. The story of the young Wirral squirrel, who joins a group of rebels to save his parents from the tyrannical leader Gretsch, an owl with an incredible voice, is sure to capture audiences' attention. The film promises to be not only a visual and audio experience, but also a touching reminder of the importance of nature and freedom.
In the meantime, as we await the official release of “High in the Clouds,” we can only imagine the adventures Wirral and his friends will have in the clouds.
Gaumont is launching pre-sales for the film High in the clouds for the upcoming American Film Market (AFM), where a reel featuring some Paul McCartney music demos will be revealed. The 3D animated film is set in a world of animals and tells a timeless story about family, freedom and musical expression.
The film is a loose adaptation of the children's adventure book by McCartney, Geoff Dunbar and Phlip Ardagh. McCartney, a former member of the Beatles, is the writer and composer of the film's original score and also serves as the project's producer.
“ I am very excited to fly High in the clouds with Gaumont and to collaborate with our amazing creative team,” said writer/producer/composer McCartney.
Synopsis: Dfter accidentally sparking a revolution against Gretsch, the owl-diva boss who has banned all music from his town, a teenage squirrel named Wirral embarks on an extraordinary journey to liberate music.
The animated adaptation is directed by Toby Genkel (The incredible Maurice) from a screenplay by Jon Croker (Paddington 2; Short Oscar winner The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse) with drawings by Patrick Hanenberger (The LEGO Movie Part 2, Rise of the Guardians). McCartney scored the film in collaboration with Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning composer Michael Giacchino (Ratatouille, Up, In, Coco).
High in the clouds is produced by McCartney (MPL Communications), Robert Shaye (Unique Features) and Sidonie Dumas, Christophe Riandee, Nicolas Atlan and Terry Kalagian for Gaumont.
“We are thrilled to bring Paul McCartney's vision to the big screen,” said Dumas, CEO of Gaumont. “ This is a great opportunity for Gaumont, our animation team and independent distributors to work on a timeless animated film for the whole family. ”