The new movie will be a live-action hybrid based on the beloved kids books and animated series.

By Nick Romano
June 25, 2020 at 12:12 PM EDT
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Magic School Bus

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Seatbelts, everyone! Elizabeth Banks will take the wheel of the Magic School Bus in a new live-action hybrid movie.

Banks, who appeared among the star-studded cast of FX on Hulu's Mrs. America and in her directorial take on Charlie's Angels, will star as zany elementary school teacher Ms. Frizzle, EW has learned. The character is based on the beloved children's books from Scholastic and the animated series.

The actress will also produce the new movie through her Brownstone Productions banner for Universal Pictures. Scholastic Entertainment—which is in the works on an Animorphs movie, a Goosebumps TV series, and Clifford the Big Red Dog film—is also developing the project with Marc Platt Productions.

Erik Voake/Getty Images; Everett Collection

Lily Tomlin (Grace & Frankie) famously voiced the Friz in the animated series, which saw the character take her class on extraordinary adventures on her school bus that magically transformed into various shapes and sizes. Sometimes they shrunk down to explore inside the human body, sometimes they swam in the ocean alongside the creatures of the deep, sometimes they rocketed off to outer space to learn about the galaxy. You never knew what you were gonna get with the Friz.

More recently, Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) took on the voice role of Ms. Frizzle's sister Fiona for The Magic School Bus Rides Again, an animated sequel that premiered on Netflix in 2017.

“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,” Scholastic Entertainment President and Chief Strategy Officer Iole Lucchese said in a statement. “We’re also extremely excited to be working with such top-tier partners as Elizabeth Banks, Marc Platt Productions, Brownstone Productions, Universal Pictures, and all of the amazing talent assembled for this noteworthy feature film.”

Banks is attached to star in and direct The Invisible Woman, also for Universal, based on her own concept.

The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline were the first to break the news.

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Magic School Bus

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  • TV Show
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