Archives for April, 2008
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Mitch Hurwitz has recruited three of his “Arrested Development” cast members — Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler — to voice roles in his animated Fox comedy “Sit Down, Shut Up.” Also joining the voice cast are Cheri Oteri, Will Forte, Regina King, Nick Kroll, Tom Kenny and Maria Bamford.
“Sit Down, Shut Up” centers on staff members at a high school who are preoccupied with their own needs and agendas, which means the students come second. The show is based on the live-action Australian series.
Ollie Johnston, the last surviving animator of Disney’s famed Nine Old Men, passed away on April 14, 2008. Johnston worked for Disney from 1935 to 1978 as an animator on such classics as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Bambi and Pinocchio.
He was named a Disney Legend in 1989, and in 2005, Johnston was one of the recipients of the National Medal of Arts.
Roy E. Disney said, “Ollie was part of an amazing generation of artists, one of the real pioneers of our art, one of the major participants in the blossoming of animation into the art form we know today. One of Ollie’s strongest beliefs was that his characters should think first, then act, and they all did. He brought warmth and wit and sly humor and a wonderful gentleness to every character he animated. He brought all those same qualities to his life, and to all of our lives who knew him. We will miss him greatly, but we were all enormously enriched by him.”
John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and a longtime friend to Johnston, added, “Ollie had such a huge heart and it came through in all of his animation, which is why his work is some of the best ever done. Ollie was a great teacher and mentor to all of us. His door at the studio was always open to young animators, and I can’t imagine what animation would be like today without him passing on all of the knowledge and principles that the Nine Old Men and Walt Disney developed. He taught me to always be aware of what a character is thinking, and we continue to make sure that every character we create at Pixar and Disney has a thought process and emotion that makes them come alive.”
The Writers Guild of America, West’s Animation Writers Caucus has awarded its 10th annual Animation Writing Award for lifetime achievement to acclaimed Pixar writer-director Brad Bird, whose filmography includes The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille.
At age 11, Bird started his first animated film — and finished it nearly three years later. The film brought him to the attention of Walt Disney Studios, where, at age 14, Milt Kahl, one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, mentored him.
Bird’s animated television credits include serving as executive consultant on The Simpsons and King of the Hill.
Nicktoons Network announced that it will premiere Speed Racer: The Next Generation on Friday, May 2, at 7 p.m.
The 90-minute premiere will launch the television series just prior to the Lionsgate DVD release on Tuesday, May 6, and the live-action feature film on Friday, May 9. The 26-episode, half-hour series will air regularly Fridays at 7 p.m. (ET) on Nicktoons Network.
The series follows Speed after he arrives at The Racing Academy only to find himself intimidated by his fast-paced classmates. Armed with his new friends Conor, Lucy and Conor’s robot monkey, Chim Chim, Speed quickly lives up to his name and becomes the one to beat in the driver’s seat.
A short animated film by Don Hertzfeldt, Rejected was nominated for a 2001 Academy Award. It received 27 awards from film festivals around the world and in 2004 was ranked by the Internet Movie Database as the 3rd best short film of all time.
Two Gents, a Lady, a butler, two giant steam powered fighting machines and a poodle are the cast of â€˜A Gentlemenâ€™s Duelâ€™, a film by Sean Mc Nally and Fransisco Ruiz Velasco. Fighting for the affections of Lady Bluntsworth, the two adversaries, Sir Eustace Weatherbury and Lord Du Bois do battle in their steam powered armor, but who will be victorious?
DreamWorks has acquired rights to Ghost in the Shell with plans to adapt the manga as a 3-D live-action feature.
The story follows the a member of a covert ops unit of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission that specializes in fighting technology-related crime.
Ghost in the Shell was first published in 1989 and went on to generate two additional manga editions, three anime film adaptations, an anime TV series and three videogames.
Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Steven Paul of Seaside Entertainment will produce and Jamie Moss will write the screenplay.
Check out the first images of Disney’s upcoming Christmas 2010 animated film Rapunzel. The movie is directed by Glen Keane and Dean Wellins and retells the classic fairy tale of a girl trapped high in a tower with only her long hair to save her.
PRESTO is the latest Pixar short and is directed by Pixar animator Doug Sweetlan. The short will officially premiere at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival this August, and will be shown worldwide in theatres before WALL-E, starting June 27.
The short film follows Presto DiGiotagione, a turn-of-the-century magician, who is famous for an astounding hat trick. Prestoâ€™s apprentice rabbit, Alec, however, is dissatisfied as he shares none of Prestoâ€™s wild success. While Presto is out eating lavish dinner, Alec is left behind, locked in a birdcage with a carrot torturously out of reach. Sweetland also provides the voices of both Presto and Alec.
On April 22 at 10PM ET/PT, Starz will air The Pixar Story — a film that takes an in-depth look at the most influential animation studio of its time. The movie features behind the scenes footage along with interviews and archival footage.
After the movie, Stars will air The Pixar Story Continues, which consists of footage from Ratatouille and the upcoming WALL-E.
DC Comics and Warner Bros have announced that BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHT is set to premiere at Wizard World Chicago on June 28, 2008.
The premiere will be followed immediately by a panel featuring members of the film crew and cast, including producer Bruce Timm; comics writer Brian Azzarello and writer Alan Burnett. Other filmmakers and voice talent are expected to participate.
BATMAN GOTHAM KNIGHT will arrive July 8, 2008 on DVD and Blu-Ray disc, and will also be available On Demand via digital cable and for download.