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Disney+ original film Flora & Ulysses begins production

Disney+ original film Flora & Ulysses follows 10-year-old Flora, an enthusiastic comic book fan and a self-avowed cynic; and her squirrel, Ulysses. But Ulysses is no ordinary squirrel. In fact, his unique superhero powers cause chaos in a series of humorous, fun-filled adventures that change Flora’s life – and outlook – forever.

Production started on the film this week in Vancouver. It is based on the Newberry Award–winning children’s book, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo. The book was adapted for the screen by Brad Copeland (Ferdinand, Wild Hogs).

Matilda Lawler makes her film debut as Flora. Lawler currently stars on Broadway as Honor Carney in Jez Butterworth’s Tony Award–winning play The Ferryman, directed by Sam Mendes. Alyson Hannigan (American Pie, How I Met Your Mother) plays Flora’s mother, a romance writer named Phyllis, and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, Modern Family) plays the role of George, Flora’s world-weary, estranged father. Flora’s newfound, but annoying, friend William is played by Benjamin Evans Ainsworth, and Danny Pudi (Community, The Tiger Hunter) joins the cast as Miller, an overly zealous animal control officer.

Flora is one of the next big projects for director Lena Khan following her first feature film, a comedy entitled The Tiger Hunter, which released in 2017. Interestingly, it was financed by crowdfunding. The film’s plot about a South Asian Muslim immigrant attempting to find his way in 1970s America reaped positive reviews for Khan, a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Flora is produced by Academy Award–nominated film producer Gil Netter (Life of Pi, The Blind Side, Marley and Me). James Powers (The Maze Runner series) and Katterli Frauenfelder (Dumbo, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) are its executive producers. 

Khan and the producers assembled a talented roster of filmmakers, including director of photography Andrew Dunn (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Crazy, Stupid, Love); production designer Michael Fitzgerald (Medal of Honor, The Tiger Hunter); editor Lee Haxall (Always Be My Maybe); and costume designer Mona May (Santa Clarita Diet, Enchanted).

Flora & Ulysses is one of the first original Disney+ movies set stream on the service, which launches in the U.S. on November 12, 2019.

Are you excited to watch Flora & Ulysses on Disney+? One book review I read described Ulysses as “a hungry squirrel with no thoughts other than food and filling his belly, but pretty soon, he’s writing poetry, flying through diners, and saving people from nasty cats.” Review here. Safe to say, Flora is definitely on my to-watch list.