Gallic helmer plans English-lingo toon
French helmer Patrice Leconte is once again venturing into animation with “Music!” a €15 million ($19.9 million) English-language musical feature.The family toon turns on the adventures of Nina, an intrepid teen who finds herself propelled into an uncanny alternate world in which a mysterious force has eradicated music. Passionate about dancing and singing, Nina sets out to rescue music and builds a resistance network made up of madcap characters and fellow rebels. Leconte was at Cartoon Movie, a European co-production forum, to present “The Suicide Shop,” his first animated feature, which is adapted from Jean Teule’s best-selling graphic novel. For “Music!,” Leconte is reteaming with his “Shop” partners — producer Gilles Podesta at Paris-based Diabolo Films, artistic directors Florian Thouret and Regis Vidal, who is also co-helming, and scribe Jerome Tonnerre. “We often wonder how we would survive without material things like electricity but I found it fascinating to ponder on how different life would be if we were deprived of music; something that is so impalpable and yet so essential,” said Leconte. Vidal said the toon’s graphic style will be similar to “Shop” but more colorful. “As music will play a central part, we’re looking to sign a deal with a major record company to gain access to a strong music library,” said Podesta. Co-produced by Thomas Langmann’s La Petite Reine and ARP Selection, “Shop” is repped by Wild Bunch. Podesta told Variety that a major U.S. distributor is eyeing the toon, which is due for release in December 2015. Leconte is one of France’s best known live-action directors. His career spans four decades with credits including cult pics “Ridicule” and “The Hairdresser’s Husband.” The three-day Cartoon Movie ends Friday.