The Harold and the Purple Crayon book will soon be drawn to life on the big screen. Sony and Columbia will be releasing a film adaptation of the beloved children’s book series early next year.
Coming nearly 70 years after the original book was released, the film has seen a long road to the finish line. Development first began in 1992, but behind-the-scenes issues led to it being abandoned by 1994. By 2010, it was reported that a new CGI film was in development, though that has also seemingly faded, with no new updates for the last few years.
In early 2021, it was confirmed that a live-action film was finally in development, and filming commenced in early 2022. With the film adaptation of Harold and the Purple Crayon seemingly finally seeing the light of day, let’s look at everything we know. Who is lined up in the cast? What will the plot entail, and how closely will it follow the books? When and where can we see the film released? And what else should audiences know about the Harold and the Purple Crayon movie?
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Harold and the Purple Crayon: The Plot
At this point, we know very little about the plot of the film or how closely it will follow the plot of the book series. The books’ storylines are, at their core, very simple. Harold is a four-year-old boy who possesses a magic purple crayon. He uses that magic crayon to draw anything he desires, which the crayon will bring to life.
When Harold goes for a walk at night, he sees that the moon is not out, so he draws it with the crayon. He continues his adventures with the crayon, drawing many other things from his imagination before returning to bed, safe and sound. While this is the main plot of the first book, several other books later followed due to the first’s success.
The film will likely retain the main elements of the book series while bringing the story to a grander scale fit for a movie. Notably, the plot of the dormant CGI film would have followed Harold as he realizes that he has been selfish with his crayon. He then uses it to help his parents, family, and friends with their needs.
It is unknown if the live-action film will utilize any part of this concept, but since that idea is already fleshed out, it could be a good story to expand for the new movie. In any case, all that we can do is wait for more plot information to come out, likely in the coming months before the release date.
Harold and the Purple Crayon: The Cast
Warner Bros. Pictures
The film already has an all-star cast lined up despite the lack of plot information. However, none of the announced cast members have confirmed roles or storylines attached. Shazam! star Zachary Levi is set to play a lead role, though it is unlikely that this role will be the titular Harold. (Who knows, Levi may go with his Shazam! route and play an adult Harold.)
In addition to Levi, the film is also set to feature names such as New Girl’s Zooey Deschanel and actor and comic Lil Rel Howery. Other cast members include actors Ravi Patel and Camille Guaty, Sex Education star Tanya Reynolds, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Pete Gardner.
These are all the confirmed cast members as of this writing. More information about their characters and additional casting announcements will likely be made as we approach closer to the date of release.
Harold and the Purple Crayon is currently set to be released in theaters by Sony Pictures on January 27, 2023.
Everything Else We Know
Though it’s only taken a short 68 years to bring the book to the big screen, Harold and the Purple Crayon has already been adapted for various other media. An animated television series of the same name aired for 13 episodes on HBO between 2001 and 2002. Each episode focused on Harold using his purple crayon to explore a new world while learning life lessons along the way.
A seven-minute animated short film based on the original book in the series debuted back in 1959. Animated shorts based on later books followed in 1971 and 1974, respectively. The series has also been adapted for the stage over the years. As of March 2022, a new Broadway Harold and the Purple Crayon musical adaptation featuring original music from the band AJR is in development. It will focus on Harold as an adult as he confronts real-world problems without the help of his crayon. It is currently unclear how or if the musical’s storyline will connect to the new film.
Despite the long road to the big screen, it is clear that Harold and the Purple Crayon has persisted in the public eye for nearly seven decades, giving the film great potential for success.