Studio's first toon since 1989 is also its second full project since bankruptcy
MGM is jumping into the animation game with the children’s book adaptation “Punk Farm,” the studio’s first toon since “All Dogs Go to Heaven” in 1989 and only its second inhouse project since emerging from bankruptcy.David Silverman (“The Simpsons Movie”) is set to direct; David Stern will rewrite the script by Jim Hecht based on the Jarrett Krosoczka book. Story revolves around five barnyard animals who form an underground rock band. Kevin Messick and Arish Fyzee are producing, with Anita Camarata and Kristin Dornig are exec producing for Prana Animation Studios, which brought the project to MGM and will handle the CG animation. MGM has co-financed several pics this year, including “Girl With a Dragon Tattoo” at Sony and Paramount’s “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.” But “Farm” would be one of its first major projects since emerging from prepackaged bankruptcy in December; the others are action-comedy “The Machine,” which Vin Diesel was tapped to produce and star in, and the next installment in the James Bond series. Though MGM isn’t known for animated fare — yet — it joins virtually every other major and mini-major in the family toon game with “Farm.” In Silverman, the studio brought on a helmer with experience in the genre: He’s an Emmy winner perhaps best known for his work on “The Simpsons” and was a co-director on “Monsters, Inc.” Stern’s upcoming projects include “The Hotel Transylvania” for Sony and Walden/Reel FX’s “Turkeys.” which features the voices of Steve Martin, Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson. Other credits include “Open Season 2″ and “Open Season 3.” Hecht is best known for his work on “Ice Age: The Meltdown.” Both Silverman and Stern are repped by Verve. Hecht is repped by UTA.