We truly cried tears of joy when we first heard that one of our favourite novels of all time, “The Little Prince“, was going to get a film adaptation.
You might remember us gushing about it in January this year.
“The Little Prince” is a poetic tale by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes social criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world. It was ostensibly styled as a children’s book but it also makes several observations about life and human nature.
The film adaptation, however, centres on a fearless and curious child prodigy (voiced by Mackenzie Foy, of “Interstellar” fame) who lives with her equally academically talented yet overachieving mother (voiced by Rachel McAdams). After moving into a new neighbourhood, the girl meets her next door neighbour “The Aviator” (voiced by Jeff Bridges), an old yet eccentric and mischievous man.
Soon, she discovers the story of The Little Prince (voiced by Riley Osbourne), a story of a pilot who crashes in a desert where he meets the titular boy from a distant planet, a story that brings the girl and the Aviator together on an extraordinary adventure.
To best prepare you for the film when it’s released, here are some fun facts about “Le Petit Prince”, otherwise known as “The Little Prince”:
1. It has been translated into over 250 languages
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novella was first published in 1943 and has since gone on to become the 3rd most-translated book in the world. It has been translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, as well as Braille. Selling nearly 2 million copies annually with sales totalling over 140 million copies worldwide, “The Little Prince” has become one of the best-selling books ever published and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France.
2. The author did more than just write the novella
Antoine both wrote as well as illustrated “The Little Prince”. In fact, he painted all of the story’s simple watercolor illustrations. He did not consider himself an “artist”, but he had been a lifelong doodler and was always sketching little people on scraps of paper. A 2014 exhibit at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York showcased many of his unpublished drawings
3. The Prince’s rose is likely inspired by Antoine’s wife
Word has it that it is likely that Antoine’s Salvadoran wife, Consuelo, inspired the Prince’s rose. Although Antoine and Consuelo had a volatile relationship, she was his muse. Just as Antoine held Consuelo close to his heart, the Prince protects his rose, watering her and shielding her from the elements. Although the Prince encounters other roses (in Antoine’s case, other women), the fox reminds him that his rose is unique to him because “you become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed”. This theory is further supported by the title of Consuelo’s autobiography, “The Tale of the Rose”.
4. This isn’t the first “The Little Prince” adaptation in history
“The Little Prince” has adapted for various media including a 1974 musical film of the same name directed by Stanley Donen, an opera in 2 acts by Rachel Portman to an English libretto by Nicholas Wright, a “The Adventures of The Little Prince” anime series, a 2010 “The Little Prince” TV series, and a 1982 musical theatre adaption. Just to name a few :)
5. But it is the first animated feature film adaptation
The 2015 adaptation marks the first animated feature film adaptation of “The Little Prince”. The film uses stop motion animation for the novel’s story and computer animation for an additional frame narrative. The project is helmed Mark Osborne, who is partially responsible for the 2008 critically acclaimed “Kung Fu Panda”, in which he co-directed alongside John Stevenson. Irena Brignull (of “The Boxtrolls” fame) wrote the script based on the 1943 novel.
6. Varying storytelling methods between the original novella and the upcoming film
In the original novel, the pilot is the narrator and one of the main characters although he was never really depicted in the book itself. The “The Little Prince” film, however, will feature a framing device not present in the novel, with a schoolgirl discovering The Little Prince through a reclusive elderly neighbour.
BONUS: By the time his “The Little Prince” work was available in France, Antoined had already been presumed dead for a year, and his death was every bit as mysterious and fascinating as his life. On a 1944 reconnaissance mission, his plane disappeared. He was never seen again and his body was never recovered. It wasn’t until 1998 that a clue to his fate was found in the form of his silver identity bracelet, which was discovered by a fisherman off the coast of Marseille in the Mediterranean. The remains of his plane were found there by a diver in 2000.
Watch the trailer here:
“Le Petit Prince” had its world premiere on 22nd May 2015 at the 68th Cannes Film Festival in an out-of-competition screening, and it’ll be followed by a wide theatrical release in France on 29th July 2015.
For more information, visit the movie’s Facebook page.