MADRID — Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes, directors of 2009 Academy Award-nominated toon short “This Way Up,” are prepping “Cog,” their feature film debut.
The comedy turns on Cog, a supermarket worker rat from a favela blessed with an amazing voice.
Barred from entering a talent contest, Cog disguises himself with prosthetics as a cute mouse. He finds fame and fortune but risks losing his friends and identity.
Charlotte Bavasso and Christopher O’Reilly will produce for London-based Nexus Prods.
O’Reilly has written a full storyline; Nexus is now putting the project out to writers.
It was one of the higher-end projects pitched at last week’s Cartoon Movie in Lyon.
“This is an ambitious European film with a broad international audience,” said Bavasso.
O’Reilly added “Cog” has five key elements: Comedy, conflict, heart, visual spectacle and music.
He likened it to “Tootsie” and “The Blues Brothers”: “It’s a disguise comedy about someone aspiring to overcome prejudice, but there’s a strong soul music element through Cog’s own band The Beate Noire.”
If “Cog” has a message, Reilly added, it’s about investing in one’s own neighborhood.
Producers are currently exploring differing animation techniques, such as a hybrid of model-built backgrounds to create detail and warmth and CG-character animation for flexibility and control.
Set up in 2000, Nexus has produced short-form animation such as the 60s-style opening credits for Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can” and the mock film-within-a-film “The Littlest Elf” in Paramount’s “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
Smith and Foulkes are also known for their commercials work, such as a Coca Cola 2009 Super Bowl spot.
Nexus has two other animated features in development.