Friday, September 04, 2009

September Linkorama

As we roll toward autumn, another festival of links floats down off the intertubes.

Who says hand-drawn animation is dead?

Wade Sampson -- and Chuck Jones -- tell us how Chuck spent 1/3 of 1953:

CJ: I called up Walt Disney and asked him if I could come over there for a while. He said, ‘Sure, come on over.’ I was there for four months. I worked on Sleeping Beauty and the beginning of the television show. But I couldn't adjust to waiting for Walt ... the Disney people were raised that way, and used to it. You'd finish a sequence, and then you'd wait, maybe for weeks. Five or six men, just sitting around waiting for Walt to come around. When he did come around, he'd already been there the night before when the plant was dark and looked at the boards, and everybody knew he'd seen the sequence, but they still had to show it to him as though he hadn't ...

THR reports on casting for an animated feature set to roll out in 2011:

[Jeff Foxworthy] will voice the role of Babe the Blue Ox in "Bunyan & Babe," the animated feature from MGM and Exodus Film Group. ... Tony Bancroft and Jim Rygiel are directing the pic, with Exodus execs John Eraklis and Max Howard producing ...

The Wall Street Journal observes that the financial meltdown has put a crimp in filmmaking ... but there are still lots of non live-action films getting made.

... A wave of animated films based on children's stories are scheduled for release over the next several months, including Disney's revision of the age-old fairy tale, "The Princess and the Frog"; Wes Anderson's "Fantastic Mr. Fox," a mostly stop-motion animation version of the Roald Dahl novella; and "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," a 3-D take on the popular children's book. ...

In "Fantastic Mr. Fox," a crafty chicken thief—voiced by George Clooney—strives to outwit three farmers who wage war against him for stealing their prized goods. In an unusual move for an animated feature, Mr. Anderson, best known for offbeat comedies shot in subdued tones like "The Royal Tenenbaums," made all the actors record the audio tracks together and act out some of the motions in the film, says Jason Schwartzman, who performs the voice of Ash, Mr. Fox's runty son. "George and I are having an intense emotional scene," he recalls, "and we weren't in costume or makeup, but I was really on the ground digging for dirt." ...

Also coming back to the multiplex: Buzz Lightyear and teenage heartthrob Robert Pattinson. Disney will debut "Toy Story 3" next year and in preparation, the studio will rekindle the franchise by releasing new 3-D versions of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2."

Gadzooks. A collision of animation:

... Disney will release "Tron Legacy" on Dec. 17, 2010, which has suddenly become a competitive date for male-skewing fare ... Sony already had one movie slated to open the same day, 3-D toon "The Smurfs." Studio is likely to move the kiddie pic elsewhere, considering Warner Bros.' 3-D animated pic "Yogi Bear" will unspool that weekend as well.

Yogi, Tron and Smurfs. It's a veritable Disney and Hanna-Barbera fest.

The Guardian (U.K.) speculates on animated features undercutting screen stars' asking prices:

... The success of the animated film Up illustrates another threat to Equity members: actors are necessary only for a short voice recording. These computerised cartoons can be seen as helping to preserve the legend of the star: in most cases, A-list faces – Hanks, Travolta, even Paul Newman – have been hired merely for their voices. But it's not clear how much difference this disembodied stellar presence makes, especially to young audiences. Performers with Beverly Hills mansions and private jets to maintain must legitimately fear that Hollywood's next move will be the use by animatorsof anonymous voices or even digitised ones ...

Have yourself a safe and joyous holiday weekend. Or not.


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