Kids’ French hand-drawn toon “Ernest & Celestine” has locked an English-language voice cast including Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy and the previously announced Forest Whitaker and Mackenzie Foy.
Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman and Jeffrey Wright round up the voice cast.
“Celestine” is directed by Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner, and produced by Les Armateurs, the outfit behind Oscar-nommed “Triplets of Belleville” and “The Secret of Kells.” Studiocanal handled worldwide sales.
It bowed at Cannes, where it won special mention at Directors’ Fortnight, and rolled off to Toronto, London and Los Angeles. “Celestine” also picked up a Cesar (France’s highest film award) for animated feature, along with other prizes.
Penned by Daniel Pennac and based on Gabrielle Vincent’s book series, the toon feature turns on the unlikely friendship between Celestine, a mice who is an artist and a dreamer and Ernest, an ursine troubadour. Their friendship is put on trial by their respective bear-fearing and mice-eating communities.
“Like a watercolor painting brought to life, a constantly shifting pastel color palette bursts and drips across the screen, while wonderful storytelling and brilliant comic timing draw up influences as varied as Buster Keaton, Bugs Bunny and the outlaw romanticism of ‘Bonnie and Clyde,’” stated GKids.
GKids is grooming “Ernest & Celestine” to compete for an Oscar nomination alongside Pixar and DreamWorks Animation.
The U.S. distributor previously scored three Oscar nominations for ‘The Secret of Kells,” “A Cat in Paris” and “Chico & Rita.”