Elizabeth Banks Will Will Drive the Magic School Bus in a Live-Action Movie

Ms. Frizzle welcomes you aboard.
Ms. Frizzle welcomes you aboard.
Image: Scholastic

Ms. Frizzle, everyone’s favorite messy science teacher who lived for drama as well as education, is making her way to the silver screen in a live-action adaptation of The Magic School Bus. Given how much time kids have had to spend away from school because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the movie might actually be rather... useful.


Deadline reports that Universal has greenlit a live-action movie based on Scholastic’s Magic School Bus book series, written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degan. The books achieved even more fame when they were adapted into a beloved ‘90s cartoon starring Lily Tomlin, as well as a more recent animated sequel featuring Ms. Frizzle’s sister Fiona (voiced by Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon). This new take will see the busy Elizabeth Banks star as well as produce the film with Scholastic Entertainment senior vice president Caitlin Friedman, alongside Max Handelman (Charlie’s Angels) and Iole Lucchese (The Magic School Bus Rides Again).

Currently, there’s no director, other cast members, or plot details about what the live-action Magic School Bus might tackle when it hits theaters at some point in the future. But the studio’s got years and years’ worth of excellent source material to pick from, and if it plays its cards right, the film could end up being a much needed nostalgic booster shot of education that also lures people back into movie theaters.


For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



So, are we thinking this will be a straight adaptation, or a “Dora”-like reimagining with older students? I’m leaning towards straight up adaptation myself, since the MSB kids were in an age bracket where they could actually be G-rated movie action protagonists (like, the “Spy Kids” age range) and Dora... was not.

Also, if Lily Tomlin and Malcolm-Jamal Warner do not have prominent cameos, I call foul.