×

Visual effects shop leapfrogs into production

Rhythm and Hues sets up 'Toad Trip' among other projects

Two projects from the development slate of visual-effects studio Rhythm & Hues are moving toward production as the company moves away from being strictly a vendor and looks to become a producer.

Company has even jumped in as an equity partner on a studio feature. R&H, which was lead shop on the Oscar-winning vfx for “The Golden Compass,” has an equity stake in Warner’s 3D family pic “Yogi Bear” and will get a co-producer credit on the pic.

Yogi Bear” is live-action with CG animals, an area that is a special strength of R&H.

It is unusual but not unprecedented for a visual effects company to take such a credit. CafeFX invested in “Pan’s Labyrinth” and had associate producer credit on the pic.

The company’s strength in photorealistic animals is reflected in its other projects as well:

  • “Toad Trip,” a family comedy that features live-action actors with a CG toad. Stephen Herek (“101 Dalmatians”) is set to direct. Script is by Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (“The Fighter”).Herek will do “Toad Trip” after finishing “The Chaperone” for WWE Entertainment (Daily Variety, June 8).

    Lee Berger, prexy of the film division at R&H, said, “The stated goal was to be shooting in autumn for it to come out next spring or summer. Whether that happens or not depends on casting.”

    R&H acquired the property in turnaround from DreamWorks, where it was developed by Michael De Luca. Independent financier Social Capital is an investor in the project.

    “We did a promo test for ‘Toad Trip’ so buyers could see what the toad looked like,” said R&H director of development Venecia Duran. “(Social Capital) took that to Cannes and that helped get a lot of attention.”

    Tamasy, Martin Shore and Christopher Tuffin are producers. Johnson, Gordon Steel, Berger are executive producing.

  • R&H has also optioned the graphic novel and script for “Tales From the Farm,” and will be taking the project out to cast and directors shortly. Pic will be shot live-action with CG elements. Duran said “It’s a very sort of quirky, drama/comedy. The tone was different enough that it got our attention.” Story has a major ice hockey angle. Jeff Lemire wrote the graphic novel, which was published by Top Shelf. John Carr wrote the script.Lemire is executive producer with Steven Gilder and Alec Chorches producing.
  • Company is developing an untitled period romance set against the backdrop of a real-life natural disaster. Steve Heller is producing with Mark Wilson and Charles Wilson writing the script.

Duran called it “an epic love story” in the vein of “Titanic.”

Company also is working with Julia Pistor on several family projects based on properties owned by Blighty-based HIT Entertainment.

Popular on Variety

Berger said some future projects on the company’s slate are to be fully CG-animated, but none of those titles have been disclosed yet.

Berger said due to the recession and studios’ desire to reduce development costs, producers are more interested in having a vfx company partner early.

“They can find a project, have a script, come to a company like Rhythm & Hues, and we can do a sizzle reel or a test of their character, so when they package it and go to a director and actor, they can say here’s what it’s going to look like.”

More Film

  • Liam Neeson Widows

    Film News Roundup: Liam Neeson's Comedy 'Made in Italy' Sells to IFC

    In today’s film news roundup, IFC buys a Liam Neeson comedy and STX takes territories on Karen Gillan and Lena Headey’s “Gunpowder Milkshake.” ACQUISITIONS IFC Films is acquiring U.S. rights to James D’Arcy’s feature directorial debut, “Made In Italy,” starring Liam Neeson and Micheál Richardson. “Made In Italy” will receive a traditional theatrical release in [...]

  • Baby Peggy

    Diana Serra Cary, Child Star Known as Baby Peggy, Dies at 101

    Diana Serra Cary, the child silent film star known by the nickname Baby Peggy, died on Monday in Gustine, Calif. She was 101. Born on October 29, 1918 as Peggy Jean Montgomery, Cary began her career in the film industry at the early age of 19 months. During a visit with her mother and a [...]

  • Riz Ahmed

    Riz Ahmed on Creating ‘A Really Personal Piece of Work’ with ‘Mogul Mowgli’

    The idea for “Mogul Mowgli” first began in 2017 when British actor, rapper and activist Riz Ahmed met Bassam Tariq, a producer and independent filmmaker, between trips to New York. Almost three years later, the pair is debuting “Mogul Mowgli” in Berlin’s Panorama. The film, which Tariq directed and co-wrote with Ahmed, who also stars, [...]

  • David Permut

    'Hacksaw Ridge' Producer Developing Colombo Crime Family Son's Story (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Permut, the Oscar-nominated producer of “Hacksaw Ridge,” has acquired the life rights to the story of John Franzese Jr., the son of the Colombo crime family’s second-in-command, Sonny Franzese. The elder Franzese passed away on Sunday at the age of 103. Franzese Jr. became active in the family business during the 1980s, leading to [...]

  • Annabella Sciorra

    Annabella Sciorra on Weinstein Verdict: 'We Can Never Regret Breaking the Silence'

    Annabella Sciorra hailed the guilty verdict against ex-mogul Harvey Weinstein, which included a “criminal sexual act” and third-degree rape, on Monday. Weinstein was also acquitted on two counts of predatory sexual assault that centered on Sciorra’s testimony — indicating that the jurors did not believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Weinstein had raped and assaulted [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris participates in Fox's "BH90210"

    SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris on Weinstein Verdict: 'You Can't Hide Any Longer'

    SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris has hailed the verdicts in the Harvey Weinstein case, with the disgraced ex-mogul found guilty of committing a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape. “Justice was served today and Harvey Weinstein was held accountable for his crimes,” Carteris said. “But it is only a beginning. We look forward to the Weinstein [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content