Shatner, Pine line up for 3-D animated film

“Quantum Quest,” the independently financed 3-D animated film that features NASA space mission footage, has assembled its voice cast, which will include a pair of Captain Kirks and a pair of Darth Vaders.

William Shatner, Chris Pine, James Earl Jones and Hayden Christensen will topline the voice cast of the $10 million pic that is being financed by Taiwanese toonshop Digimax.

Samuel L. Jackson, Amanda Peet, Jason Alexander, Sandra Oh, Mark Hamill, Abigail Breslin and Spencer Breslin round out the voice cast. Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong also will lend his voice, marking his bigscreen debut.

Directed by Dan St. Pierre and Harry Kloor, “Quantum Quest” will bow first in Imax and subsequently in conventional theaters in late 2009.

Story centers on Dave (Pine), a photon who lives in the sun and who is drawn into a galactic battle between the Core (Shatner) and the Void (Hamill).

Penned by Kloor, the film will take the audience to the outer planets and moons of the solar system.

“Quantum Quest” interweaves animated sequences rendered by Digimax with actual space imagery captured from seven ongoing space missions. The pic grew out of an earlier project that was initiated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as part of the outreach program of the Cassini Huygens space mission in 1996.

Kloor and Rayna Napali are producing through their Jupiter 9 Prods. banner alongside Digimax’s Helen Pao-Yun Huang and Jeff Tzong-Jer Yang. Tom Teng, Teddy Zee, Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Jon Vein are executive producing.

Digimax will distribute the film in Asia, and Jupiter 9 will handle large-format in all other territories. The producers are looking to line up a domestic distributor for conventional theaters.

Conceived by Kloor (“Star Trek: Voyager”), the project has been gestating since 1996, and with a voice cast that originally included John Travolta and Anne Archer. Production on the film could not begin until the Cassini/Huygens — a $3.5 billion endeavor — reached its target and sent back its discoveries. Final images and radar data, providing a partial radar map, were released by NASA this year, enabling the film to proceed.

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