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Roach toon crawls toward prod’n

Draguleanu to use 3-D animation for 'A Hard Life'

In case you’ve been wondering what’s been rustling under your hotel bed, be reminded that 70% of all New York apartments are plagued with cockroaches or rodents.

Relax. Given that most buildings in Berlin are either new or have recently been renovated, the numbers in Berlin are unlikely to be as high.

However, such is their ubiquity that Romanian helmer Giuliano Draguleanu and his fellow Romanian producing partner Ovidiu Halmagean have decided to make a movie about a cockroach and a hamster who wander through 1920s New York in search of the hamster’s family.

With the help of Austrian producer Johann Wiener, Dutch producer Frits Harkema and Blighty-based producer Andy Birmingham, they are developing the 3-D animation pic “A Hard Life.”

“We’re here in Berlin looking for distributors. This is really a dry run for Cannes, when we’ll have a trailer and a teaser ready,” said Halmagean, whose Timisoara-based outfit Genius offers production services, 3D animation, and digital visual effects for music videos and commercials.

The pic is not to be confused with Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life,” because, as Halmagean points out, “in our film the animals aren’t humanized.”

“Our initial idea was to make a film with 100% realistic cockroaches,” he added, “but that didn’t work because they’re too ugly.”

Halmagean says the budget is around $25 million and while producers are yet to approach actors for the voices, they already plan a soundtrack with a mix of 20s jazz and the gypsy swing that was played in New York by immigrants from Eastern Europe.

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