Winchester, Klasky will produce adult-oriented feature

LONDON After producing four kidpics at Paramount, pioneering Hollywood toon factory Klasky Csupo is taking the indie route to mount its first animated movie for grownups.

The $15 million project, titled “The Way the Dead Love,” is based on seven short stories by writer-poet Charles Bukowski.

Klasky Csupo, best known for “The Simpsons,” “Rugrats” and “The Wild Thornberrys,” has teamed with U.K. sales company Winchester Films to bankroll the movie, which will start shooting by September.

Scripted by Bruce Wagner, it will be directed by KC veterans Igor Kovalyov and Laslo Nosek. Project is being spearheaded by company principal Gabor Csupo and will be produced under the banner Global Tantrum, a new KC offshoot dedicated to more adult fare.

“What’s really missing from the marketplace is a ground-breaking animated movie that’s not for children,” Csupo says. “Our goal is to create a new genre of film that’s twisted and funny and original, a whole new edgy form of entertainment for the cyber generation.”

The film follows the adventures and fantasies of Bukowski and his youthful alter ego Henry Chinaski as they dabble with sex, death (in the form of a beautiful woman) and the Devil. Music is central to the project’s creative concept, with Peter Gabriel and Radiohead already talking to Csupo about getting involved.

Winchester will launch the project at Cannes but is not seeking to pre-sell it widely. Instead, the company hopes to line up a couple of key foreign distribs as co-financiers, and then to hold on other territories until the movie is near completion in two years’ time.

In the meantime, KC and Winchester are planning an extensive viral marketing campaign, notably via the Internet, to build awareness and appetite for the movie.

“Winchester is always looking for era-defining material,” says CEO Gary Smith. “Gabor is always two years ahead of his time. Apart from creating animation, he creates dollars as well.”

KC is currently finishing “Rugrats Go Wild” for Par, following its success with “The Rugrats Movie” (the first non-Disney animated movie to gross more than $100 million in North America), “Rugrats in Paris” and “The Wild Thornberrys Movie.” Many of the company’s key creatives will move straight from “Rugrats Go Wild” onto “The Way the Dead Love.”

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