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After directing more than 20 films, Ron Howard is setting up his first animated film. He'll direct "The Shrinking of Treehorn," a children’s book about a boy who inexplicably begins shrinking. It was written by Florence Parry Heide with illustrations from Edward Gorey and originally published in 1971.

According to Variety, it's just one of four ambitious, animated and live-action hybrid films he and producing partner Brian Grazer have set up through Imagine Entertainment, in a joint venture with Australia's Animal Logic (of "The Lego Movie" franchise).

Illustrator Gorey, famed for his own books including the macabre "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" and the opening credits of PBS's "Mystery" series, passed away in 2000, but the film will "closely follow Gorey’s aesthetic."

(The documentary, "The Last Days of Edward Gorey," is currently in  production. And a great bio, "Born to Be Posthumous: The Eccentric Life and Mysterious Genius of Edward Gorey," came out last year.)

Rob Lieber ("Peter Rabbit," "Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day”) is writing the script of "Treehorn" and Paramount Pictures will release the film.

"I've long had this passionate point of view that Ron Howard should make a tentpole animated movie. That’s how this started," said Zareh Nalbandian, Animal Logic’s entertainment CEO.

Meanwhile, the mixed live-action, animation production of another beloved classic children's book, "Flat Stanley," is still in development hell, last we checked. Which is fine.

Howard's next project is "Hillbilly Elegy" for Netflix.

[Via Variety]