Sony throws toon arm’s creative biz into Hopper

'Astro Boy' first prod'n for feature-toon division

Former Fox exec Nate Hopper has been tapped VP of creative affairs for Sony Pictures Animation.

Hopper will work with writers and directors in developing computer-generated toon features at the 2-month-old unit, headed by Sandra Rabins and Penney Finkelman Cox.

Rabins and Cox, the execs credited with setting up DreamWorks Animation, were tapped in May to create Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment’s first feature-animation division. First pic expected to come out of the new division is “Astro Boy” (Daily Variety, May 10).

“Nate Hopper is an extraordinarily gifted production executive,” Rabins said. “He has a wonderful sense of story, a great sense of humor and a superb sensitivity for people and material. These qualities are essential ingredients for the kind of company we are building and the kind of films we will be making.”

Cox noted that the unit’s goal is to seek projects with appeal at all levels and ages. “Precisely because of that depth, they take a great deal of care and time to develop and produce properly,” she added. “Nate will be instrumental in this process.”

Hopper was VP of production at Fox and oversaw production and development of “Big Momma’s House,” “Black Knight” and “High Crimes.” He was also responsible for development on “X-Men 2,” “Aliens vs. Predator,” “This Means War,” “God of Cookery,” “Charlie Chan” and “Stuck on You.” Hopper began his career as a UTA agent trainee, then became a creative assistant to the president of TriStar and worked closely with then-prexy Marc Platt. From 1994-96, he served as a creative exec and then director of development for TriStar, working on “The Mask of Zorro,” “The Fan” and “SWAT.”

Hopper also has been an exec at Apatow Prods.

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