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D’Works, PDI trumpet ‘Tusker’

Elephants to follow 'Shrek'

Moving quickly from the smallest end of the animal kingdom to the largest, “Antz” co-producers DreamWorks and Pacific Data Images have begun work on their third computer animation collaboration, “Tusker.”

The pic follows a herd of elephants on a perilous trek across Southeast Asia. In their travels, they encounter a wide variety of dangers, including a band of marauding poachers.

While no release date has been set, “Tusker” will go into theaters after PDI and DreamWorks’ second production, “Shrek,” which is due out in late 2000. The companies’ first collaboration, “Antz,” has so far grossed more than $125 million worldwide.

Tim Johnson and Brad Lewis, “Antz’s” co-director and producer, respectively, will co-direct “Tusker.”

“Tim, Brad and the entire PDI team brought an enormous amount of creativity and energy to ‘Antz,’ ” said DreamWorks co-topper Jeffrey Katzenberg. “We think ‘Tusker’ has all the right ingredients to make a great movie, and PDI is just the team to make it happen.”

Before co-directing “Antz” along with Eric Darnell, Johnson served as animation director on “The Simpsons” 1995 Halloween Special, “Homer3.”

Lewis, who produced “Antz” along with Aron Warner and Patty Wooton, is a vice president at PDI, where he previously oversaw the character animation and visual effects on film and commercial projects. His credits include such feature films as “The Arrival,” “The Peacemaker” and “Batman & Robin.”