Monthly Archives: February 2012

Ryan Reynolds leads race for DreamWorks’ “Turbo”

Turbo: Go For It!

Turbo: Go For It!

Ryan Reynolds will lead an all-star cast including Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena, Luis Guzman, Bill Hader, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Kurtwood Smith, Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson in DreamWorks Animation SKG’s upcoming original film Turbo, the company announced Friday.

Turbo tells the story of an ordinary garden snail with dreams of racing greatness. The film is scheduled to come to the big screen on July 19, 2013.

“Ryan Reynolds’ infectious enthusiasm and humor will bring life to the lead role of Turbo and set the tone for this amazing roster of all-star voice talent,” said DreamWorks Animation chief creative officer Bill Damaschke. “This high-octane journey will take audiences on the race of their lives and completely re-define the traditional notion of moving at a snail’s pace!”

David Soren (Merry Madagascar), a DWA veteran as a story artist, voice actor and director, is set to direct the film based on his own original concept. Soren is co-writing the script with Robert Siegel (The Wrestler) and Darren Lemke (Shrek Forever After). Lisa Stewart (Monsters vs. Aliens, Almost Famous) is producing with Susan Rogers serving as co-producer.

Turbo is a snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world, just like his hero, five-time Indianapolis 500 champ Guy Gagne. His obsession with speed and all things fast has made him an oddity and outsider in the slow and cautious snail community, and a constant embarrassment to his careful older brother Chet.

Turbo desperately wishes he could escape the slow-paced life he’s living. As luck would have it, he gets that chance one fateful day after a freak accident when he suddenly finds himself vested with the power of incredible speed. He embarks on an extraordinary journey to achieve the impossible: racing against the best that IndyCar has to offer. Turbo is the ultimate underdog who achieves the impossible by refusing to let his limitations get in the way of his dreams.

DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo is a snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world.

DC Nation producers head to Anaheim for WonderCon

DC Nation

DC Nation

Fans can supercharge their Saturday with a special video presentation and panel session for DC Nation — the new one-hour programming block from Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment — on March 17 at WonderCon, held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California,

Attendees will be treated to exclusive video content filled with plenty of sneak peeks from the DC Nation block. In addition, an all-star panel featuring Young Justice producers Brandon Vietti (Batman Under the Red Hood) and Greg Weisman (Gargoyles), Green Lantern: The Animated Series producers Jim Krieg (Ben 10: Alien Swarm) and Giancarlo Volpe (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), and DC animated shorts producers Lauren Faust (The Powerpuff Girls, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic) and Ben Jones (Batman: The Brave and The Bold) will take the stage for a moderated Q&A.

The special video presentation and Q&A will take place in Room 204ABC. At 4 p.m., a DC Nation signing will take place at DC Entertainment Booth #501.

Make Mine Freedom (1948) – Extension Department of Harding College

Make Mine Freedom (1948) - Extension Department of Harding College

Make Mine Freedom (1948) - Extension Department of Harding College

CotD: From John Sutherland Productions, “Make Mine Freedom“was seen by 20 million viewers saw the film in its first year of release.

Make Mine Freedom (1948) – Extension Department of Harding College

John Q. Public gives us a historical and educational outlook on the capitalism and freedom of the United States of America. Cartoon parable presenting the American system of government as the best in the world. “Dr. Utopia,” a snake-oil salesman of “foreign” appearance, convinces Americans to drink his quackish “ism” formula. Citizens are plunged into a totalitarian nightmare in which strikes are banned, private property is confiscated, and dissenters are brainwashed. Fortunately, “John Q. Public” takes charge and expels the bad doctor from town. Part of the public relations offensive by business to loosen government controls after World War II.

Come see “Make Mine Freedom” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

New Poster for Burton Remake

Frankenweenie (2012)

Frankenweenie (2012)

Tim Burton is deep in production of his stop motion remake to his 1984 featurette Frankenweenie  titled, strangely enough, Frankenweenie. Slated for am October 2012 release, we now have the first teaser poster for the new Frankenweenie.

An homage to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, and the classic 1931 horror film directed by James Whale and starring Boris Karloff, the movie tells the story of a boy named Victor whose dog dies. Victor uses the power of science to bring it back to life…

The original 1984 film by Tim Burton caused quite a rift between the director and Disney. As originally planned, the featurette (30 minutes in length; longer than a short but not a feature-length film) was to presented before the U.S. before a re-release of Pinocchio on Dec. 21, 1984. When Disney saw the film, they immediately pulled it, and then fired Burton. The studio claimed that Burton had wasted company resources and felt the film was too scary for young audiences.

By 1994, seeing Burton’s successes with films such as Batman and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Disney rethought their ban and released the featurette to home video.

The modern film has seen a tumultuous release schedule. Originally slated for a November 2011 release, the release was pushed to March 9th last September. In October, Disney’s John Carter was moved into the March release date, and Frankenweenie was move to it’s current October release date.

The modern retake on the film will be a stop-motion feature, and produced in Disney 3D. Charlie Tahan is voicing the lead character Victor Frankenstein, while Burton alums Winona Ryder voices Elsa van Helsing and Catherine O’Hara will speak for Susan Frankenstein. Rounding out the cast are Martin Short as Victor’s Dad and Martin Landau as Mr. Rzykruski.

Frankenweenie (2012)

Frankenweenie (2012)

Hayek, Allers To Animate The Prophet

The Prophet

The Prophet

In an international work of collaboration, producers Salma Hayek, Clark Peterson and Ron Senkowski are being pre-production on an animated screen adaption of Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” Easily the poet’s most famous work, each of the chapters in the work will be directed by a different, respected animation director from around the world.

Among the distinguished directors committed to the project are Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis), Chris Landreth (“Ryan“), Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells), Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues), Mohammed Saeed Harib (“Freej“), Joan Gratz (Oscar winner for Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase), Michal Socha, Francesco Testa and Bill Plympton (How To Kiss and The Cow Who Wanted To Be A Hamburger). The animated chapters will be joined by The Lion King director Roger Allers, who is responsible for the overall narrative flow. Doha Film Insititute (DFI) is co-financing along with Participant Media, MyGroup Lebanon, FFA Private Bank, JRW Entertainment and Code Red Productions.

“‘The Prophet‘ has been an incredible source of wisdom and inspiration for millions of people all over the world. Being of Lebanese descent, I’m particularly proud to be part of a project that will present this masterpiece to new generations, in a way never seen before,” said Hayek.

Selling over 100 million copies in many languages across the world since its original publication in 1923, Gibran’s book is among the top selling books in history. The Prophet is in its 163rd printing and has sold over 100 million copies since its original publication in 1923, making him the third highest selling poet, just behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.


The Practical Pig (1939) – Silly Symphonies Theatrical Cartoon Series

The Practical Pig (1939) - Silly Symphonies Theatrical Cartoon Series

The Practical Pig (1939) - Silly Symphonies Theatrical Cartoon Series

CotD: One of the all time most popular Silly Symphonies cartoons, “The Practical Pig” was not the first in the series, but one of the best.

The Practical Pig (1939) – Silly Symphonies Theatrical Cartoon Series

Two of the Three Little Pigs are caught by the Big Bad Wolf while swimming. But things backfire when the wolf tries to get Practical Pig; he is caught instead. Practical Pig uses his new lie detector to get the information about his two brothers from the wolf.

Come see “The Practical Pig” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase

Guitarist and songwriter Billy Strange dies at 81

Billy Strange

Billy Strange

Grammy-nominated guitarist, songwriter and arranger Billy Strange, who helped make hits for Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys, and Frank and Nancy Sinatra, has died in Nashville, the Nashville Tennessean reported Wednesday. He was 81.

The cause of death was not announced.

“My dear friend, the legendary guitarist/arranger Billy Strange passed away this morning in Nashville,” Nancy Sinatra wrote on her Twitter page. “My heart is shattered.”

Strange wrote such hits for Presley as “A Little Less Conversation” and “Memories.” “A Little Less Conversation (Junkie XL Remix),” which he wrote with Scott Davis, was on the soundtrack of both the DreamWorks animated feature films Shark Tale (2004) and Megamind (2010).

He sang his own composition, “The Ballad of Bunny and Claude,” in the Merrie Melodies Bunny And Claude (We Rob Carrot Patches) (1968) and The Great Carrot-Train Robbery (1969).

“Limbo Rock,” which he wrote with Kal Mann, was hummed by Nancy Cartwright in the 1995 Simpsons episode Lisa The Vegetarian. It was originally a hit for Chubby Checker.

A member of the 1960s “Wrecking Crew” of Los Angeles-based session musicians, he was in both the Musicians and Rockabilly Halls of Fame.

William Everett Strange was born on September 29, 1930; he was born and raised in Long Beach, California. While still a young boy, he performed on local radio with his father and mother. At 14, he started playing guitar; two years later, he was touring with other musicians.

He worked in the rodeo, as a truck driver and as a stuntman in his 20s. However, he made music his career, performing early with the likes of Spade Cooley, Roy Rogers, Count Basie, and Speedy West & Jimmy Bryant.

Major producers noticed his guitar work. Strange joined The Wrecking Crew, playing on the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album. He also was on recordings by The Everly Brothers, Randy Newman, Willie Nelson, Nat King Cole and many others.

Strange arranged Nancy Sinatra’s megahit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”; he directing standup bass player George Burghofer to play the famous descending bridge. As well, he helped arrange “Somethin’ Stupid,” her duet with father Frank.

He was the guitarist on Sinatra’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down),” later part of the soundtrack for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.

Presley hired Strange as a player and arranger when he came to Los Angeles for recording sessions. The two soon became friends, sitting and playing with baby Lisa Marie Presley and riding motorcycles together.

In the early 1970s, Strange moved to Middle Tennessee, where he ran a publishing company for Frank and Nancy Sinatra. He

He released a series of solo works in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Strange was married to singer and actress Joan O’Brien from 1954 until their 1955 divorce. They had a son, Russell Glen Strange.

His marriage to Betty Jo Conrad lasted from 1960 until their divorce in 1978. They had a daughter together, Kelly Kimberly Strange, and a stepson, from his wife’s previous marriage.

Billy Strange is survived by his wife since 1999, the former Jeanne Black, who also was a singer.

Memorial service information is not yet available.

Paramount animation chief quits after four months

David Stainton

David Stainton

David Stainton has suddenly resigned as head of Paramount Pictures’ fledgling animation unit, just four months after he was hired, the studio announced Wednesday.

Stainton left his job for “personal reasons,” said the studio. It would not give further details on why he and Paramount parted ways.

“We are grateful for the time David spent at the studio and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Paramount Motion Picture Group president Adam Goodman said in a statement.

The studio said that Goodman will directly supervise the animation development team from now on.

Stainton was hired by Paramount last October. Earlier, he was a 17-year veteran at Walt Disney Studios.

He rose to president of feature animation at the Mouse House, staying in that job until early 2006, when Disney bought out Pixar Animation Studios.

Stainton became chief of Paramount’s animation unit after it was established last year following the release of Rango, which has been nominated for an Oscar for best animated film.

Del Toro’s “Day of the Dead” comes to life in 2014

Reel FX

Reel FX

Reel FX has teamed with Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Puss in Boots, Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth) to produce a groundbreaking CG-animated film with Day of the Dead as its working title, the company announced Tuesday.

Del Toro will also present the film, directed by Emmy Award winner Jorge R. Gutierrez (El Tigre, The Adventures of Manny Rivera). The film is being penned by Gutierrez and Emmy Award nominee Doug Langdale. Reel FX will produce alongside Aaron Berger and Carina Schulze of Chatrone, Inc.

Day of the Dead is scheduled to be released in fall 2014.

The film is an action-packed, fully CG-animated picture, with a Romeo and Juliet-style love story set against a Mexican “Day of the Dead” backdrop. It represents the first time in almost 20 years — since 1993’s Cronos — that del Toro has collaborated on a feature project set in Mexico.

Music is also integral to the story; the film will feature an international roster of A-list recording artists performing new songs, as well as reimagined iconic songs. Reel FX’s Brad Booker brought Day of the Dead to the studio, and is the development executive on the project.

“We’re thrilled to have Guillermo on board for Day of the Dead,” said Booker. “As individuals, Guillermo and Jorge share a cultural background and love for Mexican folklore, which brings a palpable authenticity to our project; however, as artists, each brings to the picture a vastly different aesthetic sensibility. Working together for the first time, we feel that they bring a truly unique balance to the style and story of the film.”

Notes del Toro: “I have admired Jorge’s work for a long time. He has a unique aesthetic and sense of humor.

“Day of the Dead offers a perfect opportunity for his sensibilities to shine. This is a colorful, vibrant, vital fable that utilizes the animation medium in an incredible way. The object of the tale is not only to talk about life, but to dazzle us — jolt us — into living to the fullest. To join Reel FX, Cary Granat and Jorge in this adventure is a privilege and a joy.”

In addition to Day of the Dead, Reel FX has secured and is actively developing multiple CG-animated and effects-driven, live-action projects. Projects underway include an animated feature adaptation of the Dark Horse graphic novel Beasts of Burden, produced by Andrew Adamson (Shrek) and Aron Warner; and Turkeys, the studio’s CG-animated comedy directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears a Who!).

The studio also recently collaborated on the production of Cirque du Soleil’s 3D film Worlds Away, written and directed by Andrew Adamson, and executive produced by Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron (Avatar). Cary Granat and Ed Jones served as producers on the project for Reel FX. Worlds Away is currently in post-production and set to debut late this year from Paramount Pictures.

The Band Concert (1935) – Mickey Mouse Theatrical Cartoon Series

The Band Concert (1935) - Mickey Mouse Theatrical Cartoon Series

The Band Concert (1935) - Mickey Mouse Theatrical Cartoon Series

CotD: This is a landmark film “The Band Concert” was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon shot and exhibited in color.

The Band Concert (1935) – Mickey Mouse Theatrical Cartoon Series

Mickey leads his band through a rendition of Rossini’s “The William Tell Overture” in the park. It starts off fine until peanut vendor Donald Duck disrupts the concert by playing “Turkey In The Straw” on his fife, which he pulls out of his sleeve. Undeterred, Mickey braves on. A cyclone appears and takes Mickey and the band- still playing!- for a ride.

Come see “The Band Concert” on video at Big Cartoon DataBase