Tom Pollock affectionately calls it “Jurassic Pork.”

The MCA motion picture group chairman is referring to “Babe, the Gallant Pig,” one of Universal’s summer releases in the U.S. It’s skedded to open Aug. 4.

Pollock and production president Casey Silver can’t be accused of playing it safe when they greenlit the $25 million pic from the Australian team of George Miller (producer/co-writer) and Chris Noonan (co-writer/director).

The synopsis – a clever although innocent pig learns how to become a champion sheepdog – sounds deceptively simple. The challenge for Noonan and Miller was to make a technologically complex live-action film, utilizing four SFX houses, in which the pig, sheep and other animals talk, walk, jump and behave almost as humans.

They did it on time and on budget, shooting for five months on a farm south of Sydney, followed by nine months of post-production. “It’s about the rites of passage, it’s about prejudice, it’s almost anti-racist,” said Miller. -

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