Disney bosses scrap Mouse Guard days before production

Wes Ball had been lined up to direct the live-action fantasy film.

Idris Elba and Andy Serkis' planned movie adaptation of graphic novel series Mouse Guard has been halted just two weeks before moving into production.

Director Wes Ball had been preparing to start shooting the live-action fantasy film, about a brotherhood of mice in a medieval world free of humans, but on Wednesday (17Apr19), Disney officials put the 21st Century Fox project on hold.

The move, which comes weeks after Disney bosses finalised their acquisition of its rival studio, now allows its producers, including War for the Planet of the Apes filmmaker Matt Reeves, to shop the movie to other buyers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ball was expected to make full use of motion-capture technology to bring the Mouse Guard characters to life onscreen, utilising the technique perfected by Serkis in the Planet of the Apes movies, as well as the Lord of the Rings film series and his Netflix release, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.

Serkis had been cast as evil blacksmith Midnight, while former child star Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who worked with Ball on The Maze Runner franchise, was set to portray young Mouse Guard member Lieam, and Elba had been tapped for the part of Celanawe a former hero who becomes a recluse.

British comedian Jack Whitehall, who recently appeared in Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and will feature in the studio's upcoming Jungle Cruise adventure epic, had also been in talks to join the line-up.

Production chiefs have yet to comment on the reason for the shelved Mouse Guard shoot, which had a budget of $170 million (£130.7 million).

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