'Intouchables' team preps first toon

Quad Films’ Nicolas Duval, Yann Zenou and Laurent Zeitoun, the team behind hits “Intouchables” and “Heartbreaker,” are developing their first animated feature, “Ballerina.”

Set in 1879 Paris, the 3D family toon follows the adventures of an orphan from Brittany who dreams of becoming a ballerina. She flees her orphanage and goes to Paris where she passes for someone else to join the Opera as a ballet student.

The English-language screenplay was written by Carol Noble and Zeitoun. Noble’s writing credits include “Charlie and Lola.”

French filmmakers Eric Warin and Eric Summer are directing.

Warin worked as a character designer and animator on Sylvain Chomet’s toon “The Triplets ofBelleville,” while Summer has penned and directed numerous popular French TV skeins.

Ballet dancer Benjamin Millepied, who starred in “Black Swan,” will supervise the choreography. Motion capture will be used to digitally record Millepied’s performance.

Pic is budgeted at €22 million ($28.9 million) and is set up as a French-Canadian co-production.

“We see this animated film as an epic adventure comedy and an inspirational tale about tolerance,” said Zeitoun.

“Paris plays an important role in this film as it did in ‘Ratatouille’ — the designs will be rich in detail and aesthetically-pleasing to reflect that golden era — (civic planner) Georges Eugene Haussmann had just finished his renovation of the city and it was La Belle Epoque.”

Jean Aubert’s Canadian-based Blue Bug Entertainment is creating the animation. Aubert previously served as senior producer at Ubisoft Cinematic Studio in Montreal.

The producers said they are looking to partner with a French studio that will take distribution and international sales.

Production will begin in April. Delivery is expected November 2014.

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