×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sanders joins DreamWorks

Disney animator to direct 'Crood'

DreamWorks Animation has hired “Lilo & Stitch” director Chris Sanders, a longtime Disney vet, to helm its cavemen comedy “Crood Awakenings.” The talent coup is reminiscent of the competition for animators in the mid-’90s.

DreamWorks had been developing “Crood” with Aardman, but took it inhouse after its partnership with the British claymation house recently ended.

After a nearly 20-year stint, Sanders left Disney early this year due to creative differences with studio leadership, including John Lasseter, over his movie “American Dog.” Mouse is continuing the pic with a new director (Daily Variety, Feb. 9).

Helmer, whose 2002 toon “Lilo & Stitch” was the most critically and commercially successful film for Disney Animation since the ’90s, talked to several studios before making a deal with DreamWorks.

“I’ve been so anxious to start working on things, and so I talked to a lot of people,” he told Daily Variety. “I like the way DreamWorks looks at animation. Animation still has a lot of different places to go, and I don’t want to miss out on a chance to try some new things with it.”

Sanders is the second Disney vet to sign onto a DreamWorks project in the past few months. “The Lion King” helmer Rob Minkoff is directing a bigscreen version of ’60s TV toon “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” for the studio.

DreamWorks Animation topper Jeffrey Katzenberg knows both helmers from his time at Disney.

“Crood Awakenings,” which is about a culture clash between cavemen, has a script by Brit comedy icon John Cleese and Kirk De Micco (“Racing Stripes”). Sanders is rethinking the project, however, and will likely end up doing a significant rewrite.

“We have always loved the premise, and when we finished our relationship with Aardman, we were very interested in keeping it inhouse,” said Bill Damaschke, DWA’s head of creative production. “We would have been excited to work with Chris on any project. But ‘Crood Awakenings’ is a high priority for us, and he responded to it.”

“The idea of having all the modern conveniences and social structures that we’re familiar with gone and being left with just a pure form of people was really fun to imagine working with,” said Sanders, who started work at DreamWorks Animation on Monday.

Studio doesn’t have a release date for “Crood” yet. Its slate is full through the first half of 2010, when a fourth “Shrek” is slated to bow. Should development go well, “Crood” would likely come out in late 2010 or 2011.

More Film

  • Come as You Are review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Come as You Are'

    The rare remake that’s actually a slight improvement on its predecessor, Richard Wong’s “Come as You Are” translates Geoffrey Enthoven’s 2011 Belgian “Hasta la Vista” to middle America. Other changes are less substantial, but this seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment [...]

  • Strange Negotiations review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Strange Negotiations'

    In a era when some mainstream entertainers have transitioned to targeting faith-based audiences, David Bazan is moving in the other direction. The gifted songwriter’s ersatz band Pedro the Lion was perhaps the most successful Christian indie rock act of its time, and the first to significantly cross over to secular fans. Then he ditched that persona (and [...]

  • Bluebird review

    SXSW Film Review: ‘Bluebird’

    As affectionate as a love letter but as substantial as an infomercial, Brian Loschiavo’s “Bluebird” may be of most interest to casual and/or newly converted country music fans who have occasionally wondered about the songwriters behind the songs. There’s a better than even-money chance that anyone who’s a loyal and longtime aficionado of the musical [...]

  • ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending for the Fourth Week in a Row

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the fourth week in row with “Wonder Park.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.18 million through Sunday for 1,718 national [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED New Regency and Michael B. Jordan’s Outlier Society are partnering on an untitled monster movie from “Kong: Skull Island” [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content