Seatbelts, Everyone!: Elizabeth Banks Boards Live-Action Magic School Bus

image courtesy Nelvana Enterprises, Inc
Strap your bones right to the seat, ‘90s kids, because actress (Pitch Perfect, The Hunger Games) and director (Pitch Perfect 2, Charlie’s Angels) Elizabeth Banks has signed on to produce and star in a new, live-action reboot of the beloved 1994-1997 PBS animated kids series, The Magic School Bus.
Banks’ own Brownstone Productions is now working with Scholastic Entertainment and Universal Pictures on the upcoming project, and she’s starring as Ms. Frizzle, the gleefully batshit science teacher/sorcerer who takes her students (sometimes under false-pretenses) on wild, precarious field-trips in a sentient, shape-shifting bus.

Says Scholastic Entertainment President Iole Lucchese:

“We are delighted to bring to life the iconic Ms. Frizzle and her zest for knowledge and adventure in a fresh new way that inspires the next generation of kids to explore science, and supports the dedicated teachers who help make science real and accessible for young learners every day.”

The original PBS series featured the funky and eclectic style of Canadian animation studio, Nelvana (Rock & Rule, A Cosmic Christmas, The Devil and Daniel Mouse, and the Boba Fett-debuting animated segment of the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special), and was based on the Scholastic Books series written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen. Lily Tomlin portrayed the role of Valerie Frizzle for the show’s original run, and it featured a racially diverse cast of characters that were (somewhat surprisingly) actually played by racially diverse kids.

Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon stepped-in to voice the role of Fiona Frizzle, Valerie’s younger sister in the Netflix 2017 reboot series, The Magic School Bus Rides Again, this time animated by Klasky Csupo studios (Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys, Duckman).

No further plot, casting, or scheduling details just yet, but when Ms. Frizzle and her pet lizard, “Liz” finally do decide to take a bunch of (occasionally unwilling) children to navigate a nostril, or on a child-endangering undersea journey, we at The Movie Sleuth think that we just may be in for a plankton-spankin’ good time.