Peter Rabbit: What You Need To Know
Author and illustrator Beatrix Potter once famously turned down an approach from Walt Disney to adapt The Tale of Peter Rabbit for the big screen – one of several declined offers to turn her work into feature films – but around 2015 Potter's estate gave the green light to a script based on her most famous character for the first time.
The resulting film, Peter Rabbit, debuted in cinemas in February this year and makes its arrival in stores on Monday (July 23rd). Here's everything you need to know...
Who's in it?
Domhnall Gleeson and Rose Byrne lead the live-action cast for the film along with Sam Neill and Broadchurch star Marianne Jean-Baptiste. James Corden provides the voice of Peter Rabbit alongside a voice cast for the film's animated characters which also includes Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki and Sia Furler.
And who's directing?
Will Gluck, whose previous credits include the 2014 reboot of hit musical Annie, is the man in the director's chair, working form a script he has co-written with Rob Lieber.
What's the plot?
The story revolves around a manor house in the Lake District owned by an old man named Joe McGregor (Neill), an avid gardener whose vegetable patch is a regular target for a group of rabbits led by the irrepressible Peter (Corden). On one of their regular raids on McGregor's garden Peter leaves his jacket behind and goes back to retrieve it, whereupon he is spotted and caught by the old man, who promptly dies of a heart attack.
News of McGregor's death reaches his grandnephew Thomas, a controlling workaholic employed in the toy department at Harrods, who greets the news of his great uncle's with indifference until he learns that he has inherited the old man's valuable manor house. When he loses out on a promotion at work to the lazy nephew of his boss, Bannerman, Thomas reacts angrily and is subsequently fired.
Thomas decides to visit the manor to begin preparing to sell the property so that he can open his own toy store and begins by upgrading the security by installing new walls and fences around the garden, kicking out the animals in the process, despite objections from one of the local residents, an artist named Bea (Rose Byrne). Despite their differences, Thomas and Bea soon find themselves falling for each other.
Meanwhile, unhappy at being evicted from their usual stomping ground, Peter and the other animals decide to get revenge by setting traps and booby traps for Thomas, starting a war between them that escalates further when Peter learns of Thomas and Bea's relationship, making him jealous. Things reach a head when Peter rewires an electric fence installed by Thomas, prompting Thomas to retaliate by filling Peter's burrow with dynamite. When Peter detonates it to prove Thomas' intentions to Bea, a tree is toppled and Bea's art studio is destroyed. Blaming Thomas, Bea breaks up with him and he heads back to London, but realising how much she means to him Thomas decides to try and win her back.
The only problem is that the manor house has already been sold to a couple with whom Thomas has already had an unpleasant run-in, meaning he'll need some help from Peter and his friends if he is to regain ownership of the house and rescue his relationship with Bea.
Does it deliver?
It's fair to say that Will Gluck's adaptation of Beatrix Potter's work has taken a few liberties with the source material and not all fans of Potter's work will be enamoured with James Corden's mischievous portrayal of Peter Rabbit, but Gluck has made a film that will be fun for kids and Dohmnall Gleeson's joyously game performance makes it worth a look for big kids too.