×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Aardman reveals new slate

Smith to oversee lineup

LONDON — Two months after announcing a three-year, first-look deal with Sony Pictures, Aardman Features has unveiled a diverse slate of projects, including a pic described as “family-friendly Tarantino.”

Lineup will be supervised by creative director Sarah Smith, who has been upped from head of development.

After stints as executive producer at the BBC and a string of comedy hits as a freelancer, Smith joined Aardman last year. Her impact on the claymation specialist has been immediate — she has signed up a fleet of highly rated scribes for the Bristol-based animation powerhouse.

Smith has signed writers Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah (“Life on Mars”) to work with director Steve Box on comedy heist “The Cat Burglars.” The film about milk-thieving stray cats will be in Aardman’s trademark stop-frame claymation and combine the comedy action of Nick Park and Box’s “Wallace & Gromit” feature with the cool styling of “Ocean’s Eleven,” Aardman says. Box promises auds something altogether new — “family-friendly Tarantino.”

Aardman co-founder Peter Lord returns to the director’s chair for the first time since “Chicken Run” in 2000 with a comedy adventure based on the “Pirates” series of books penned by Gideon Defoe. Lord, Defoe and writers Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil, whose credits include the sitcom “Hyperdrive” and animation series “Slacker Cats,” are working on the screenplay.

Also signed to Aardman by Smith is Peter Baynham, one of the writers on “Borat,” who is developing “Operation Rudolph,” an actioner set on Christmas night. The Christmas movie shows the North Pole operation as an exhilarating ultra-high-tech military procedure on a massive scale, revealing how Santa and his huge army of combat elves get around the whole world in one night.

Additionally, Nick Park is developing another project — details are not yet released, but it is not another “Wallace & Gromit,” according to an Aardman rep.

“This is an interesting time in the animation industry,” Smith said. “While there is clearly still a big appetite among cinemagoers for great animated films, there is a feeling of sameness about much of the product coming out of the industry at present, in terms of their stories. I think there’s a great opportunity to excite audiences by raising the stakes in terms of the quality, intelligence and variety of the stories our animated films tell and the genres they inhabit.”

Aardman teamed with Sony just two months after ending its deal with DreamWorks Animation.

More Film

  • 'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,' 'Shaft' Set

    'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu' and 'Shaft' Set for China Debuts

    Disney’s new live-action “Aladdin” will release in China on May 24, day-and-date with North America, giving the studio a run of three films in Chinese theaters as many months.  Two other Hollywood titles will also hit the big screen in the Middle Kingdom in the coming months: “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu” on May 10 and the [...]

  • Patrimonio

    Film Review: 'Patrimonio'

    Though it never really went away on much of the globe, a sort of creeping feudalism is making such a striking comeback — with the ever-more-fabulously-rich squeezing the poor of every dime and resource — that Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale’s documentary “Patrimonio” feels like a frightening portent. Will such crude appropriations of land [...]

  • Fan Bingbing

    Fan Bingbing Starts to Re-Emerge Months After Tax Scandal

    Half a year after she was found guilty of tax fraud and disappeared from the public eye, Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing has begun to signal her comeback, attending a gala event and launching her own beauty product on social media this week. The 37-year-old actress unexpectedly hit the red carpet in Beijing on Monday at [...]

  • I Trapped the Devil

    Film Review: 'I Trapped the Devil'

    “I Trapped the Devil” sounds like the title of a sermon or gospel song, but it’s a very literal-minded statement coming from the mouth of a leading character in writer-director Josh Lobo’s debut feature. This being a horror film, there’s a chance he’s even literally correct, rather than simply mad. A mixed-bag frightfest, IFC’s limited [...]

  • American Factory

    Tribeca Film Review: 'American Factory'

    When the last truck rolled off the assembly line of the General Motors factory outside Dayton, Ohio, filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert were there to film it, documenting the end of a certain American dream, along with the unemployment of more than 2,000 people — down from 6,000 in more prosperous times. That was [...]

  • 'Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project': Truth-Teller

    Tribeca Film Review: 'Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project'

    VHS tapes now have a weird sort of stodgy magical aura. Long ago, they were standard. With the arrival of DVD, they were behind the curve. Then they were totally outdated and unworkable (at a certain point, who besides Quentin Tarantino still had an operational VCR?). But now they’re so old they’re like mystic electromagnetic [...]

  • PLAYA VISTA, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 24:

    Shorts Encourage Women to STEAM Careers

    Straight Up Films created the anthology “Power/On” of five shorts focused on encouraging girls in STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math with the arts thrown in) directed by actresses Rosario Dawson, Julie Bowen, Ana Brenda Contreras, Lisa Edelstein, and Nikki Reed. With support from YouTube, the shorts premiered Wednesday at the Google campus in Playa [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content