Woody Woodpecker movie knocks at Universal’s door

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Illumination Entertainment

Illu­mi­na­tion Entertainment

Universal-based ani­ma­tion stu­dio Illu­mi­na­tion Enter­tain­ment is work­ing on a fea­ture film star­ring Woody Wood­pecker.

John Altschuler and Dave Krin­sky, co-writers of the Will Fer­rell com­edy Blades of Glory, are in talks to develop a story about the mis­chie­vous bird, who first appeared in the 1940 Andy Panda short Knock Knock.

Illu­mi­na­tion and the writ­ers will try mak­ing a story that mod­ern­izes Woody in the hopes of start­ing a franchise.

Co-created by car­toon­ist Wal­ter Lantz, Woody was first voiced by Mel Blanc. Later, Lantz’s wife, Grace Stafford, became the voice of the bird.

Woody Wood­pecker car­toons first had a theme song in 1947. “The Woody Wood­pecker Song” was heard in the fol­low­ing year’s Wet Blan­ket Pol­icy. It was nom­i­nated for an Oscar for best song, becom­ing the only song from a short film ever nom­i­nated in the category.

In 1985, Uni­ver­sal bought the library of shorts and the rights to the Woody char­ac­ter from Lantz.

Altschuler and Krin­sky were exec­u­tive pro­duc­ers and writ­ers on Fox’s King of the Hill. They also worked on the fea­ture film incar­na­tion of The Jetsons.

Illu­mi­na­tion Enter­tain­ment made Despi­ca­ble Me and next year’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.

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