Acker Helms “Thomas The Tank Engine”

Shane Acker, who helmed the 2009 animated feature “9”, is set to direct a live action theatrical film adaptation of “Thomas the Tank Engine” for HIT Entertainment reports Deadline.

The story revolves around a pre-teen boy who has drifted apart from his father. The son is introduced into Sodor, the island of talking trains where Thomas is among a litany of characters It’s a place his father visited as a child but can’t remember. From that comes a “bonding experience” says Acker.

The movie aims to launch a line of older-skewing movies and toys that will try and refocus the 65 year old brand out of the pre-school market and into slightly older territory.

Chris Viscardi, Will McRobb and Josh Klausner penned the script while Weta Workshop and Mattel’s entertainment properties design team have joined the creative team.