DreamWorks Animation enters ‘Shadow’ world

Feature to combine CG, hand-drawn animation

DreamWorks Animation has set a March 2013 release date for “Me and My Shadow.” The original 3D toon will seamlessly combine CG and traditional animation, marking a first for the company.

“The way ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ combined hand-drawn and live-action, this does the same, but with CG and hand-drawn,” said Bill Damaschke, DWA co-prexy of production.

“Shadow” tells the story of Shadow Stan, an incredibly frustrated shadow that yearns for a more dynamic life but happens to be stuck with Stanley Grubb, the world’s most boring human.Eventually pushed to the brink, Shadow Stan breaks the singular rule of the Shadow World — “they lead, we follow” — and takes control of Stanley.

Steve Bencich and Ron Friedman’s original screenplay is being revised by the writing team of Tom Astle and Matt Ember (“Get Smart”).

According to Damaschke, the creative team behind the film “are all ambidextrous, in a way. Everybody has a significant 2D movie and a significant 3D movie under their belt.”

Helmer Mark Dindal previously co-directed CG feature “Chicken Little” and hand-drawn pic “The Emperor’s New Groove.”

Producers are Teresa Cheng (“Shrek Forever After,” “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”) and Melissa Cobb, who hails from Fox Animation and produced the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise for DWA.

Other members of the team include head of story Shane Prigmore.

It’s an ambitious effort for the studio, which also blended traditional toon elements with CG for one sequence in “Kung Fu Panda.”

Although DreamWorks Animation’s previous hand-drawn toon was “Spirit” in 2002, Damaschke estimated that half the studio’s animators have 2D experience.

“Shadow” will combine “the time-honored tradition of hand-drawn animation with the magical sophistication of CG characters and worlds in ways that have never been experienced by audiences before,” Damaschke said.

He said the team is already well along in production.

In the toon, the Shadow and everything in the Shadow World will be hand-drawn, while the human character and human world will be CG. The movie will alternate between the two worlds.

“It will be super-challenging but very cool,” Damaschke said.

Production designers are Scott Wills and Raymond Zibach. Nick Fletcher is editor.

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