Based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s picture-book of the same name, it tells the story of two warring families whose children, Bill and Janet, fall in love and run away together.
Hotly pursued by their grandparents, Grandfather Smed (Bailey) and Grandmother Smoo (Andoh), the two young aliens lead their families on a chase across space, giving them the opportunity to find out they have more in common than they think.
Rounding out the cast are Ashna Rabheru as Janet, Daniel Ezra as Bill, Rob Brydon as Uncle Smoo, Meera Syal as Aunt Smed and Sally Hawkins as the narrator.
The film, produced by Magic Light Pictures, will be released on BBC One and iPlayer this Christmas.
“There’s just the sort of ignorant prejudice that people can harbor about each other until they come together and actually love and that survival and kinship are the things that bind all of us,” said Andoh of the best-selling book. “Grandma Smoo [is] utterly capable, she can drive a rocket, she can clump about the place, she can blow her trumpet, delight in her kids and her grandkids and she can hate with a passion as well. Grandma Smoo’s not a woman of mild tastes, everything’s fairly strong with her. So when she’s your implacable enemy, she’s implacably your enemy. But you could change her mind at any moment and then she will love you to death.”
Bailey added: “I think the main themes of the film are that we should just accept differences in others. I think the thing I get from it is that the older generation tend to be more resistant to change. And actually, sometimes it takes the younger generation to sort of breach that divide. Grandpa Smed, he’s the kind of patriarch of the Smed family, and he’s very much the kind of protector of the family, and he’s in charge. And he’s quite sort of traditional, and a bit stuck in his ways. And he’s sort of a little bit of a stick in the mud, really, but he’s kind. He’s not an ogre. He’s a kindly old grandpa who cares about his family, I think that’s the best way to describe him.”