Shawn Levy, he of Cheaper By The Dozen and Night at the Museum, has trained his sights upon a children's favourite series, The Berenstain Bears, and aims to turn the slight-but-sweet stories of a family of bears into a new film. Levy will produce but there's no word yet on whether he'll direct what's envisaged as a mix of CGI and live-action.
The four bears, Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear (we're saying they might need names before the cameras roll) live in a house in a tree. In the books, they live in Bear Country surrounded by other bears, but we're not entirely clear if that's something Levy wants to keep, since he told USA Todaythat, "The comedy comes from this bear family coexisting in a more recognizably real world."
As regards making the family work onscreen, Levy also said that, "I'd like the film to be un-ironic about its family connections but have a wry comedic sensibility that isn't oblivious to the fact that they're bears," adding that, like Elf, the tone should be "witty but not sarcastic".
The studio, Walden, is aiming for a release date late in 2011, which would be pretty fast-moving for a film starring four bears given that there is currently no screenplay, no director attached and (presumably) no finished concept art for the bears themselves. And while we're hoping that Levy can redeem himself with the Tina Fey / Steve Carell-starring Date Night, his record to date has us worrying that this will be a bit on the sappy side of sweet.
But what do you think? And give us you suggestions please for new names for Brother and Sister Bear.