Jason Reitman to Write, Direct ‘Beekle’ for DreamWorks Animation

Film will be based on the award-winning children’s book “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend”

Jason Reitman will write and direct “Beekle,” an adaptation of an award-winning children’s book, for DreamWorks Animation, the studio announced Wednesday.

“The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend” is the story of an imaginary friend who is so odd and so unique that no kid could possibly imagine him. So he decides to take matters into his own hands, and sets off on a journey to the land of people in search of a best friend.

“Beekle” is the first project to be put into development by DreamWorks Animation’s recently appointed co-presidents of feature animation Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria.

It will be Reitman’s first animated film. The career decision from the Oscar-nominated filmmaker follows “Men, Women & Children,” an ensemble drama that failed to gain any momentum at the box office or with critics. His previous film, “Labor Day,” did not fare much better.

Reitman does, however, have a strong track record that began with “Thank You for Smoking,” followed by critically acclaimed dramas “Juno,” “Up in the Air” and “Young Adult.”

Written and illustrated by Dan Santat, “The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,” is the 2015 recipient of the Caldecott Medal, awarded annually to the most distinguished American picture book for children.

“I was book shopping with my daughter, when a little tooth-shaped character in a paper crown stole our hearts,” Reitman said in a statement. “His name was Beekle and I’m honored to now be adapting Santat’s charming story into a feature film.”

“I’m particularly proud to be working with DreamWorks Animation, makers of ‘Kung Fu Panda,’ the first film my daughter ever saw on the big screen,” Reitman added.

DreamWorks Animation development executive Damon Ross brought the project to the studio, which he is overseeing along with the studio’s head of development, Gregg Taylor.

Reitman is represented by WME.