THR is reporting that TriStar Pictures has enlisted Carlos Saldanha to direct the long-gestating adaptation of Norton Juster’s classic children’s book The Phantom Tollbooth, replacing Matt Shakman (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) who has left the project due to scheduling issues.
Saldanha will be making his live-action debut on the movie, having previously helmed the animated features Ice Age: The Meltdown, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Rio, Rio 2 and Ferdinand. He also served as co-director on Ice Age and Robots.
The Phantom Tollbooth “tells the story of a bored young boy named Milo who unexpectedly received a magic tollbooth one afternoon and, having nothing better to do, decides to drive through it in his toy car. The tollbooth transports him to a land called the Kingdom of Wisdom, where he acquires two faithful companions, has many adventures, and goes on a quest to rescue the princesses of the kingdom from a castle in the air.”
A feature adaptation of the 1961 book was originally set up at Warner Bros., with Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) set to direct from a script by Alex Tse (Watchmen). The current draft for the TriStar incarnation has been written by Ted Melfi (Hidden Figures).