Script notes for Meerkat Manor: The Movie—Meerkats In The City
Note: all meerkats will be CGI.
We begin with a meerkat scientist/researcher, a Jane Goodall type, ideally played by Patrick Stewart. He lives among the meeerkats and observes them. He is struck by how extraordinarily intelligent the group he is studying seems to be. We see a lot of shots of him beginning to train/teach the meerkats. We see him reading to them as they sit in a semicircle, showing them how to take high tea, etc. The meerkats are a sassy and lively bunch.
Sadly, the meerkat scientist dies. This is a real tragedy, but there is a silver lining on this dark cloud: the scientist has left his substantial personal fortune/grant money to the meerkats, who quite naturally use this newfound wealth to travel to the city to live. They are convinced to do this by the wistful young main protagonist meerkat, who discovers the meerkat scientist's notes, outlining his dream of taking the meerkats into the wider world to show everyone just how smart and wonderful the meerkats are.
The meerkats take up residence in a fancy downtown hotel (think Home Alone 2), where they almost immediately run afoul of the bellhop, played by John Turturro. He is dedicated to the hotel and cannot stand to see it being overrun by what are in his mind vermin. A good introduction will show him walking to a limousine to open the door only—to his horror—to be confronted with a band of sassy meerkats. “Keep the change,” our young meerkat protagonist will quip as he and his friends scurry past, tossing the bellhop a quarter. “Meerkats,” the bellhop will mutter under his breath, “I hate meerkats.”
There will be the inevitable montage, where we see the meerkats inspecting their swanky new digs. James Brown's “I Feel Good” will play as they run around the suite, acting crazy, dancing, wearing sunglasses, etc. We will see the meerkats don swimming trunks and do cannonballs into a bubblebath.
Hopefully, Joan Cusack will be available to play the concierge, who is secretly in cahoots with the John Turturro character. She too, hates the meerkats, and the two of them are together scheming to swindle the meerkats out of their inherited fortune. Not sure how this will play out; most likely by befriending one of the stupider/less outgoing meerkats and spinning some kind of tale.
The meerkats will need a human friend to stand in for the audience. Probably another hotel employee, or, better yet, one of the meerkat scientist's students, who helps the meerkats. Need to do some work on this character.
Unsure of exactly how to wrap this up. Perhaps the meerkats will lose or squander their fortune in some way, and wind up in the laboratory care of the student, who will be full-fledged professor in the sequel.
Note: idea for sequel: the meerkats are stolen/kidnapped from the lab by someone who wants to exploit their intelligence for his own ends.
Need to continue workshopping these ideas so a full script can be shopped around. With any luck this can be in theaters by Christmas.