BROLL CHILDREN & EXTRAS BEING FILMED ON SET ; CAMERAMAN ON SET FILMING ACTION ; BROLL FILMING ; SOT CHILD ACTOR ; BROLL ON SET; DIRECTOR BRITT ALLCROFT ON SET ; SOT OLEV SAVYTSKY, PRODUCTION DESIGNER ; BROLL OF SET AND PROPS ; SOT BRITT ALLCROFT, WRITER AND DIRECTOR (ON POSSIBLE REACTION OF THE THOMAS THE TANK CREATOR) ; WS SET
English/Nat THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE TOOT TOOTS HIS WAY TO THE BIG SCREEN
STORY: THOMAS THE TANK ENGINE
LOCATION: ISLE OF MAN
That well known British animated series, "Thomas the Tank Engine" is soon to hit the big screen in a feature film version, currently being shot on the Isle of Man. Produced, written and directed by BRITT ALLCROFT, the film, "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" features Thomas, a highly likeable train and his friends, (different sorts of trains with varying temperaments) and many new characters and is set in an American context, despite its English location.
Combining liveaction and innovative animation, the movie chronicles the adventures of
ten yearold Lily (MARA WILSON) who is sent off to visit her lonely and unhappy grandpa Burnett Stone (PETER FONDA). An uneventful train journey becomes a fantastic adventure when Lily takes the wrong train, bringing her into contact with everyone's favourite steam engine, Thomas the Tank Engine (voiced by JOHN BELLIS) and the magical Mr Conductor (ALEC BALDWIN).
The trio become involved in a classic tale of adventure. At one end is the magical island of Sodorthe land of talking trainsand at the other end is Shining Time the world reality for ordinary human beings which is nestled deep in the heart of Indian Valley. Linking these two worlds is The Magic Railroad, which allows Thomas the Tank Engine and Mr Conductor to travel between the two. When they discover that The Magic Railroad is in jeopardy, Lily and her new friends, including a young boy called Patch, and his special dog, Mutt, devise a plan to save it.
During the adventure, Lily discovers an amazing secret about Grandpa's past and the mystery of a lost engine named Lady. Grandpa has the power to save the Railroad but only if he believes again in the power of magic. Can Lily's reappearance in his life make him believe again?
The film is due for release in July 2000.
Thomas the Tank Engine was originally created in book form by the REV. W. AWDRY about 50 years ago for his son Christopher; the original stories can be found in the "The Railway Series." In 1984, Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends was recreated by Britt Allcroft for television and more than a decade later, children are still sitting down to watch their Thomas the Tank Engine videos.
The Isle of Man, just off the mainland of northern England, has become a mecca for film makers over the last few years thanks to generous incentives by the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce to help stimulate tourism. Other successful films to have been shot there include "Waking Ned Devine" and "Relative Values" starring JULIE ANDREWS and WILLIAM BALDWIN.