Polar bear Knut set to star in Hollywood film

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - Knut, Germany’s celebrity polar bear, is poised to feature in a Hollywood film which could bring Berlin Zoo hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Zoo said on Thursday.

Slideshow ( 21 images )

The Zoo’s director is considering offers from several production companies and the most likely option is an animated film in the style of “Finding Nemo” or “Shrek,” he said.

“There are indeed various interested parties who want to make an animated film about the story of Knut,” Berlin Zoo director Bernhard Blaskiewitz told Reuters Television.

Producer Ash R. Shah, who has made animated films about Garfield, the ginger cat, has offered the zoo $100,000 to make a cartoon with Knut starring in the main role, he said.

Blaskiewitz denied German newspaper reports that the zoo was in line to earn $5 million.

The director said he wants to make sure Knut is portrayed in a positive light.

“We don’t want a Knut with a machine gun slung over his shoulder who shoots his keeper or the director,” said Blaskiewitz.

One-year-old Knut, who weighs about 100 kg and has his own brand, captured public sympathy early last year after he was rejected by his mother Tosca and controversially hand-reared.

Knut’s bearded keeper Thomas Doerflein, who slept in Knut’s cage for several months and fed him porridge through the night, would also feature in the film, Blaskiewitz said.

Knut, not yet fully grown, already has his own song, DVD and book deal and has spawned a range of merchandise from soft toys to T-shirts, hats and calendars.

Reporting by Linda Gruen, Writing by Madeline Chambers, editing by Paul Casciato