U gooses its moose

'Rocky and Bullwinkle' stars animate U theme park

Doing a live-action/animated film with a cartoon moose and flying squirrel provides a rather invigorating career stretch.

At Saturday’s benefit premiere of U’s “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle,” Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff said he’s always had an “eclectic career,” which those who appreciate his work “call versatile and those who don’t call confused.”

As for working with the ’60s animated moose/squirrel duo, McAnuff said “a background in musicals isn’t bad for animation — you’re working with lots of departments, pacing and it’s a broad form of comedy.”

Pic is certainly a career change for star-producer Robert De Niro (and goes a long way toward explaining his scene-stealing hairstyle at Elia Kazan’s 1999 Oscar presentation.) Praising the Academy Award winner, exec producer Tiffany Ward said De Niro is “to other actors what Bullwinkle is to other moose.”

Star Jason Alexander, who left the afternoon after-party at U’s theme park early to perform “Defiled” twice at the Geffen Playhouse, said the only comparable career experience he’s had was “working with the Muppets and talking to Miss Piggy. But that’s different because three minutes into it you think you actually are talking to Miss Piggy.”

Star Rene Russo said the only downside to mixing live action with animation is that working with a blue-screen “is so dull you want to die.” But she added that it’s not as bad as “acting with someone and you suddenly realize nobody’s home.”

Among those animating the party were U’s Ron Meyer, Stacey Snider, Kevin Misher and Rick Finkelstein; stars Piper Perabo and Jonathan Winters; voice artists Keith Scott and June Foray; plus guests Frankie Muniz, Christine Lahti, Aaron and Candy Spelling, Sandy Climan, John Burnham and Bill Haber, whose Save the Children Federation raised $150,000.

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