Nicolas Winding Refn

Nicolas Winding Refn announces an animated TV series in the works

Nicolas Winding Refn is branching out into the animated world.

While Charlie Kaufman and Guillermo Del Toro have announced new emphasis on animation, Refn exclusively told IndieWire that he’s currently working on an animated TV series.

“I’m doing an animation show that I’m very, very, actually Truly enthusiastic,” said the author of “Only God Forgives”. “I concentrated for a year. I was so tired, I forgot. This is my new project”.

Refn is also creating an adaptation of the popular British detective series “The Famous Five”.

“In Europe it’s like an institution. He’s like the British royals when it comes to literature pop culture,” Refn said. “It’s these old children’s books from the 1930s from England and everyone growing up across Europe reads them. Everyone had their parents read ‘The Famous Five’. My kids know them back and forth. And so it was something that my partner at (production company) Moonage, Matthew Read, and I had been discussing for years.

Refn continued, “It could be fun to reshoot ‘The Famous Five’ because the options keep coming and going and he was able to secure the rights all of a sudden. After “Neon Demon,” we were actually discussing it and then he was able to get the rights recently and so I just signed on to create it. I’m not running for production. I don’t direct it. I’m simply making my own version of “The Famous Five”.

Refn is listed on IMDb as the creator, writer and executive producer of the upcoming series. The ‘Drive’ director has linked ‘The Famous Five’ to the creation of ‘Scooby Doo’, a property he may be interested in exploring along the way.

“Fun fact: I’ve been told that ‘The Famous Five’ was also the inspiration for ‘Scooby Doo.’ So this is a little Wikipedia footnote,” Refn said. “But apparently the story is – at least that’s what Matthew told me – that at one point they were trying to sell ‘The Famous Five’ brand in the US and something happened that went wrong. And so somebody accepted it and then it became ‘Scooby Doo.’ I don’t know if that’s true or not. So obviously, you know, take this with a grain of salt, but it’s a great story.

Refn’s personal history with “Scooby Doo” influenced his cinematic style.

“I grew up on ‘Scooby Doo’ too. The old versions from the ’70s, those were from my time,” Refn said. “I loved them and I’ve always loved Scooby Doo and Shaggy and all those characters. I think they are great. What I like about the old versions is that they had that romance. And I like 2D drawings and stuff like that.

Refn kept quiet about the “Les Italiens” add-on series, joking that it is a “broader concept than just on the drawing boards.”

And when asked if he was looking for his next project to write and direct, Refn replied, “I think you’re always on the lookout. It’s like oxygen, it’s like you want to breathe. I mean, sure, we all have plans. I think I’ll actually paint, but it’s just something new that happened to me.