'The Little Prince' Trailer Casts a Spell With Mix of Animation Styles

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The Little Prince has been enchanting readers since 1943, but surprisingly, it has never been adapted as an animated feature film — until now. Here’s the new international trailer for the movie, directed by Kung Fu Panda’s Mark Osborne and featuring the voice talents of Rachel McAdams, Jeff Bridges, Marion Cotillard, Benicio Del Toro, and Mackenzie Foy.

Adapted from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s children’s book, the film tells the story of a curious, magical prince and his interplanetary adventures. While the book is told in the first person, the new film sets up a framing device wherein the aviator narrator (Bridges) tells the prince’s tale to his neighbor’s over-scheduled little girl (Foy).

The scenes between the aviator and the girl employ the expected 3D computer animation, but the prince’s journey unfolds in stop-motion animation — a delightful and unexpected choice that captures the delicate beauty of the story.

Osborne, a two-time Oscar nominee, has been developing The Little Prince since 2010. With a cost estimated at $80 million, this is the most expensive animated feature ever produced in France.

Over the years, The Little Prince has been turned into everything from an opera (multiple operas, in fact) to a Japanese anime TV series. However, only one previous Hollywood film version exists: A live-action 1974 movie directed by Stanley Donen.  Though the movie was packed with talent, including stars Gene Wilder and Bob Fosse, it was widely considered a dud. Prior to that, in 1943, Orson Welles proposed a Little Prince adaptation to Walt Disney, but the two filmmakers decided that such a film would be impossible. Here’s hoping that Osborne’s version, which premieres at Cannes but doesn’t yet have a U.S. release date, proves those two giants wrong.