Olivier Jean-Marie to direct toon

PARIS — Marc du Pontavice’s Paris-based shingle Xilam is bringing its popular cartoon franchise “Oggy and the Cockroaches” to the bigscreen with a slapstick, non-verbal toon comedy.

The €5.3 million ($6.6 million) feature will be penned and directed by Olivier Jean-Marie, the scribe-helmer of the TV series, which was created in 1998 and aired on Fox Kids for many years.

“Oggy” — now comprising 270 episodes — centers on a lazy and friendly cat who dreams of a peaceful existence, but has to deal with three mad cockroaches who are making his life miserable.

“‘Oggy’ stills airs in more than 150 territories and delivers top ratings,” du Pontavice said.

Toon pic, which du Pontavice said could be called “The Untold story of Oggy and the Cockroaches,” will take Oggy and the show’s characters through the three different time periods — including prehistoric and medieval times, where he becomes heir to the throne.

“The idea is to deliver a great parody of historical times, like ‘Shrek’ did, and appeal to kids, parents and even young adults,” said du Pontavice.

Mixing 2D and 3D, the film will also introduce new characters, including Oggy’s love interest. “We believe comedy is not enough, we need emotion as well; so after 270 episodes, Oggy will finally fall in love.”

Xilam, which employs more than 300 staffers in its Paris and Saigon studios, will create the toon’s animation.

French pubcaster channel France 3 and paybox Canal Plus have already pre-bought the toon, and du Pontavice said he was closing a deal with a French distributor.

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