Netflix and Serkis Agree to bring George Orwell’s Animal Farm to the Big Screen


With the ink barely dry on the contract that Netflix signed with Andy Serkis to acquire his film rights to Mowgli, they have once again teamed up with Serkis and acquired the rights to the George Orwell novel Animal Farm. Serkis will direct a performance-capture film with 6th & Idaho’s Matt Reeves, and Rafi Crohn. Adam Kassan will produce with The Imaginarium’s Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish. The deal reunites Serkis with Reeves who worked together with Serkis on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes.

Orwell’s allegorical novella was published in 1945, and was “styled after the Russian revolution of 1917 and the subsequent Stalinist regime of the Soviet Union.” The book’s premise involves a group of animals who rebel against the humans who own their farm and fight to win their independence. The victorious animals originally intended to create a utopian environment based on equality, but eventually a pig named Napoleon usurps the original intent, slowly eliminating his rivals and enacts seven commandments — the basic of which declares that “all animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Serkis and Cavendish had wanted to make this movie for years, and in fact, Serkis had originally planned to play a role in the film when Imaginarium had first purchased the rights to the book from the Orwell estate in 2012.

“We are incredibly excited to have finally found the perfect creative home in Netflix for this extraordinarily zeitgeist work by George Orwell,” Serkis said in a statement. “On top of that, to be re-united with my great friend Matt Reeves — with his acute sensitivity, storytelling intelligence and honesty and command in this realm — is to have the very best scenario for our long-held passion to bring this fable alive.”

Said Reeves: “Andy is such an incredible artist — he is truly a force of nature and a beautiful soul. To be able to work with him again and with Jonathan and Netflix to see Orwell’s classic tale brought to life in a totally new and exciting way is an absolute dream.”

For those familiar with the book, this could prove to be a chance to see it come alive while at the same time, introduce it to a new audience who may be unfamiliar with Orwell’s work. If nothing else, it will give fans a chance to see the artistry that is Andy Serkis’s work with performance capture.