×
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.”

Popular on Variety

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

  • Imogen Poots

    'Black Christmas' Star Imogen Poots on Why Male Horror Fans Should See Slasher Remake

    “Black Christmas” is the second remake of the 1974 slasher classic, which centers on a group of sorority sisters stalked by an unknown murderer. While the original had the female protagonists (SPOILER) offed, in this one, the women fight back. “It’s been called a re-imagining of the original, and I think, in ways that the [...]

  • Imogen Poots as Riley in "Black

    'Black Christmas': Film Review

    “Black Christmas,” a low-budget Canadian horror movie released in 1974, was a slasher thriller with a difference: It was the very first one! Okay, there were more than a few precedents, from “Psycho” (the great-granddaddy of the genre) to “The Last House on the Left” and “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” to Mario Bava’s “A [...]

  • David Benioff, D.B. Weiss. Creators and

    'Game of Thrones' Creators to Develop H.P. Lovecraft Movie at Warner Bros.

    Following their exit from the “Star Wars” universe, “Game of Thrones” co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have found their replacement pic, signing on to produce an untitled thriller based on the graphic novel “Lovecraft” for Warner Bros. It is unknown if they will also direct the project, but they’ve already set Phil Hay and [...]

  • Little Women Greta Gerwig BTS

    Greta Gerwig and 'Little Women' Crew Mix Modern and Classical

    Greta Gerwig wrote and directed Sony’s “Little Women,” a new look at Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved 19th-century classic. Eager to pay tribute to her artisan colleagues, Gerwig says, “It was a joy for me to work with all these people. It’s a movie that’s impossible to create without world-class artists. They killed themselves for me!” [...]

  • Honey Boy

    Shia LaBeouf's 'Honey Boy' Adds Unusual Twist to Oscar's History With Kids

    Hollywood has made many terrific films about childhood, and many about filmmaking. Amazon’s “Honey Boy,” which opened Nov. 8, combines the two: A movie with a child’s POV of the industry. That unique angle could be a real benefit during awards season, and the film’s backstory — with Shia LaBeouf as the main attraction — will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content