ANNECY — Bibo Bergeron, the director of DreamWorks’ “The Road to El Dorado” and “Shark Tale,” and Mike de Seve, a story consultant for many DreamWorks films, including “Shrek 2” and “Madagascar,” are launching Monkey’s Uncle, a new venture aiming to develop and create a slate of original animated films’ IPs.
An alliance of pedigree Hollywood talents who are well-connected, Monkey’s Uncle will also be joined by two more animation experts: Buck Lewis, who worked as character designer on such high profile toon pics as “Ratatouille,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and “Kung Fu Panda,” and Jurgen Gross, whose story artist credits include “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” and “Rango” (as storyboard artist).
“With Monkey’s Uncle, we’ll be able to provide high-end creative skills such as writing, directing, storyboarding, production design and character design to production companies and financiers globally,” said de Seve, who is also founder and topper of Baboon Animation, a screenwriting team working for producers, primarily studios.
De Seve added that the idea is for the company to deliver the creative front-end, between the inception and green-lighting of a movie.
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“A lot of studios such as Warner Bros. and Paramount don’t have an in-house creative team dedicated to developing animated features’ IP’s and as a result there is a demand for type of skills we can provide,” explained Bergeron, who’s recently been approached by Marza Animation Planet (“Sonic”) to work on a movie.
“Spending eigth years at Dreamworks was such an invaluable experience. It taught me how to create a three-act story, a character’s arc, among many other things,” said Bergeron, who returned to France after making “Shark Tale” (pictured above) in order to direct “A Monster in Paris,” which was produced by Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp.
Monkey’s Uncle’s first slate comprises four projects. One of the most advanced and promising is “Murphy’s Outlaw,” which was described by Bergeron as a gag-laden fantasy adventure turning on small hairy creatures who live on clouds and come to Earth when there is a lightning to cause mischiefs that turn out to be beneficials to others.
“There’s a proverb which says ‘every cloud has a silver lining,’ and that’s idea behind the movie,” said de Seve.
Bergeron said the team has come up with a treatment and is discussing with multiple studios in the U.S., the U.K. and France who have expressed interest.