A book publisher’s dream to create a children’s classic could become a reality with the help of larger than life raconteur, actor and adventurer Brian Blessed.
The celebrity famed for his big beard and even bigger personality will voice the titular character in a new animated 3D film of Maverick Arts Publishing’s ‘The Fearsome Beastie’.
“When we heard that Brian Blessed was going to play the part of the Beastie I was absolutely over the moon,” publisher Steve Bicknall told the County Times from his new Brighton Road headquarters in Horsham.
“He is making all the Beastie noises of which he is going to do an absolutely brilliant job, because he is a larger than life character.”
The award winning book by Sussex author Giles Paley-Phillips ‘is a little bit dark’ admits Maverick’s editor Kimara Nye who is proud that it ‘breaks some picture book boundaries’.
“A lot of the children’s books these days are made quite soft so they don’t scare the children,” said Kim, “but children actually love being scared so the Fearsome Beastie has all the ingredients for a really scary book.”
However, fret not, the rhyming tale does end happily with Gran coming to the rescue - fortunately keeping a woodsman’s axe helps her relax!
Steve, 61, who lives in Pulborough, and was well known as a photographer in the 1980s, hopes the Beastie will be his legacy in the world of publishing.
“It reminds me of the Gruffalo,” he said, “and it does deserve to become a classic.”
Kim added how the Gruffalo took ten years to become ‘a classic’ and that the Fearsome Beastie could really take off if the animated film wins significant plaudits once it hits the film festival circuit.
Steve’s hopes are high indeed - he has BAFTAs and an Oscar in sight for the new seven minute CG animation being produced by Slurpy Studios / UCA in Farnham.
“If it can start to win at some festivals and a buzz builds up about this film it will start to be long-listed for the BAFTAS and the Oscars,” said Steve.
“OK, it is a two year process, but to think that we might have something that we took on and created as a book being short-listed for that sort of accolade would be absolutely amazing.”
“I really do think it is good enough,” enthused the publisher with his ever-present grin.
Maverick Arts Publishing’s children’s books are available from Amazon. To watch Steve read the Fearsome Beastie visit www.wscountytimes.co.uk.