Alcon earns its ‘Stripes’

Panettiere joins cast; Harvey, Spade, Duncan on board

“Racing Stripes” has found its jockey in Hayden Panettiere, who will star opposite the voices of Dustin Hoffman, Whoopi Goldberg, Joe Pantoliano, Mandy Moore and Patrick Stewart in Alcon Entertainment’s live-action/CG pic.

Also joining the cast of voices is Joshua Jackson, Michael Rosenbaum, Steve Harvey, David Spade, Michael Clarke Duncan and Jeff Foxworthy. Principal photography will begin Sept. 15 in South Africa.

Panettiere has the starring human role in “Racing Stripes,” the story of an abandoned baby zebra (voiced by Frankie Muniz) that grows up believing he’s a racehorse. With the help of barnyard friends and teenage girl who dreams of being a jockey, he overcomes prejudice and self-doubt to pursue his dream of running with thoroughbreds.

Frederik Du Chau (“Quest for Camelot”) will direct the pic, which was written by David Schmidt, along with Kirk DeMicco and Mike Samonek.

Producers are Lloyd Phillips, Edward L. McDonnell and Alcon principals Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, with Steven Wegner serving as executive producer. Alcon’s Kira Davis will serve as co-producer with Phil Patterson.

Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. Pictures’ president of domestic distribution, announced that the film will be released Jan. 14, 2005, the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. Summit Entertainment reps foreign rights.

Panettiere has wrapped production on Disney’s “Raising Helen” opposite Kate Hudson and also appeared in “Remember the Titans.” She is repped by Cunningham-Escott-Dipene & Assoc. and managed by Brookside Artist Management.

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