Actor set to star in Hanna-Barbera adaptation

EXCLUSIVE: Eddie Murphy is returning to animated features, as the “Shrek” and “Mulan” star is set to voice the animated lead character in Alcon Entertainment’s live-action/animated hybrid “Hong Kong Phooey,” based on Hanna-Barbera’s animated TV series about a kung-fu-fighting pup and his feline sidekick.

Murphy will voice Penry, a mild-mannered dog who stumbles into a secret ceremony and is accidentally granted mystical powers, including the ability to walk, talk and do kung fu. Under the tutelage of his kung fu master, Penry dons a costume and becomes Hong Kong Phooey, who fights crime with the help of his trusting sidekick, a cat named Spot.

Alex Zamm (“Dr. Dolittle: Million Dollar Mutts”) is directing the pic, which is being produced by Alcon toppers Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson, as well as Jay Stern and Murphy’s “Tower Heist” helmer Brett Ratner. Steven P. Wegner and John Cheng will exec produce.

“We could not be happier that Eddie Murphy will star as Phooey. There is no overstating his contributions to cinema, and to such enduring stars of family entertainments such as ‘Shrek’ and ‘Dr. Dolittle.’ We look forward to watching him re-imagine yet another classic character,” Kosove and Johnson said in a joint statement.

Murphy recently reprised his role as Donkey in “Shrek Forever After,” which grossed over $750 million worldwide. He next stars opposite Ben Stiller in Ratner’s caper comedy “Tower Heist,” which Universal opens Nov. 4.

Murphy is repped by WME and attorneys Skip Brittenham and Matt Johnson of Ziffren Brittenham. Alcon’s in-house counsel David Fierson negotiated on behalf of the company.

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