The Magic School Bus has taken its passengers all around the world, to other planets and even back in time, but it’s never taken them to cinemas — until now.
That beloved series of educational books and TV shows is getting ready for its first feature film in its 36-year history, which is a fact that even Ms. Frizzle would probably find amazing. The new movie, which doesn’t have a title yet, was announced this week by Scholastic Entertainment and the movie’s other producers.
Elizabeth Banks is set to star as Ms. Frizzle, the zany teacher and driver of the titular shape-shifting vehicle. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie will be a hybrid of live-action and animation, which is also unique for the series, as its screen adaptations have all been strictly animated until now.
The Magic School bus made its debut in 1986 as a children’s book about a class of young students who are able to get firsthand knowledge of their lessons — no matter how fantastic the subject — by riding in a bus that could literally take them anywhere.
Since then, at least 90 million books in the series have been put into print, according to Scholastic, and it has also spawned two TV shows.
The 1994 series, “The Magic School Bus,” aired on PBS and became a Daytime Emmy Award winner for its fun adventures and educational content. Lily Tomlin brought Ms. Frizzle to life in that version in what has to be one of the best casting decisions in TV history.
In 2017, Netflix and Scholastic teamed up for a sequel series called “The Magic School Bus Rides Again,” which starred Kate McKinnon as the voice of Ms. Frizzle’s younger sister, Fiona, who was now in charge of the bus. Tomlin reprised her role as the beloved teacher in that show, which revealed that the elder Frizzle had since become a professor and retired from teaching.
No other details about the new movie have been revealed, including the release date, but Banks is signed on to produce the project as well as star in it. It also sounds like the signature educational aspect of the series will be at the forefront, according to another producer.
“We are delighted to bring to life the iconic Ms. Frizzle and her zest for knowledge and adventure in a fresh new way that inspires the next generation of kids to explore science and supports the dedicated teachers who help make science real and accessible for young leaners every day,” Iole Lucchese of Scholastic Entertainment told The Hollywood Reporter.
It’s not the only beloved book series that Scholastic is bringing to the screen soon, as a live-action “Clifford the Big Red Dog” film is slated to come out in November.