London-based CGI animation studio, Locksmith Animation, the studio behind 2021 Ron’s Gone Wrong, is set to head into digital production on its second animated feature film with DNEG Animation. This will be their second collaboration as Locksmith and DNEG previously worked together on Ron’s Gone Wrong, which was awarded Best Feature at the 2022 British Animation Awards.
Locksmith’s upcoming second film is titled That Christmas and will be based on a children’s book series by Four Weddings and a Funeral’s scribe, Richard Curtis. The book series consists of three books – The Empty Stocking, Snow Day, and That Christmas. The trilogy, which is set during the holiday season, was illustrated by Rebecca Cobb. The critically acclaimed book explores what happens when Christmas traditions are upturned and chaos brings the family together.
The adaptation marks the feature film directorial debut of Simon Otto who is notable for his work as the Head of Character Animation on How to Train Your Dragon. Otto’s resume includes an impressive 21 years at DreamWorks; in addition, he has won a Visual Effects Society Award for his work as Head of Character Animation and Story Artist. Otto is joined by a remarkable lineup of producers and creatives that Locksmith has set. Serving as producers are Disney veteran Nicole P. Hearon (Moana) and Adam Tandy (The Thick of It). Locksmith’s Doug Ikeler (Open Season) is VFX supervisor, while Ashley Boddy (Ron’s Gone Wrong) will serve as Head of Story. Sim Evan-Jones (The Chronicles of Narnia) is also onboard as Editor, Justin Hutchinson-Chatburn (Black Mirror) as Production Designer, Dave Edwardz (Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker) as Head of Layout, and Kapil Sharma (Trolls) as the Animation Director.
That Christmas’ screenplay is being written by Curtis and Peter Souter. Cobb and Curtis will serve as executive producers alongside Elisabeth Murdoch, Sarah Smith, Julie Lockhart, Bonnie Arnold, Peter Souter, and Colin Hopkins.
Addressing the upcoming animated feature film, Locksmith CEO, Natalie Fischer, released a statement saying: “We are happy to continue our collaboration with Oscar®-winning DNEG. DNEG Animation’s contribution to Ron’s Gone Wrong was integral to the film’s appeal to audiences, and we look forward to this new chapter.”
The president of DNEG Animation, Tom Jacomb, also stated, “We are thrilled to be working with Locksmith again for their second project, following the success of Ron’s Gone Wrong. I’ve been a huge fan of Simon Otto and all his work on the How To Train Your Dragon series, so I’m very excited to now be working with him in the director’s chair!”
At the moment, there’s currently no release date for That Christmas on the books, but be sure to check back in with Collider for updates on the project.