In the tradition of beloved animals from children’s classic tales comes a gentle giant with a heart of gold in “Ferdinand” – starring the voice of wrestling superstar John Cena along with Gina Rodriguez, Kate McKinnon, Bobby Cannavale and Anthony Anderson.
Directed by Carlos Saldanha, who also helmed global blockbuster animation films such as “Rio,” “Ice Age” and “Robots”, “Ferdinand” is a Blue Sky Studios feature that tells the unlikely and delightful story of a bull who prefers flowers to fighting. John Cena stars as the voice of the titular character, a peace-loving animal with no desire to battle matadors, like the rest of the herd, which makes him an outsider. At the ranch where he’s expected to train for the bullring, he meets Lupe, supposedly a calming goat, but in fact she is brash and feisty. The two become fast friends. Action-packed, funny and heartwarming, the film explores resonant themes of authenticity, courage and what home really means.
Set in Spain, “Ferdinand” relates the journey of a charming, fun-loving bull. A gentle giant, Ferdinand loves to smell the flowers and play in the fields, but has no interest in fighting. He’s different from his peers and that leads to bullying from the other bulls. When his beloved father leaves the ranch and doesn’t come back, Ferdinand embarks on a journey to find a new home where he will be accepted unconditionally. He finds a beautiful farm in the countryside and is taken in by the kind farmer and his daughter, Nina. Becoming part of a loving family, Ferdinand is free to play in the fields among the flowers.
But everything changes when Ferdinand goes to a flower festival in the local town, where people mistake the massive bull as a vicious beast. Because of his cumbersome size, he creates havoc throughout the town and gets taken away from the family he loves.
“Ferdinand” is based on the book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson. This classic has been in publication for over seventy-five years, been translated into more than sixteen languages, and is included on TIME’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time.
The book’s message of amity and acceptance is as relevant today as it was when it first came out, and serves as the perfect opportunity for parents to share this moral with even the youngest of children.
“Ferdinand” will open January 8 in cinemas nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.