Dolph Lundgren and Emmy-winner Matthew Rhys have joined the stellar voice cast of “Seal Team,” the upcoming animated feature from South Africa’s Triggerfish, which is receiving the MIFA Industry Award at the 60th Annecy Int’l Animation Film Festival.
Cinema Management Group (CMG), which handled worldwide sales on Triggerfish’s previous two animated hits, “Adventures in Zambezia” and “Khumba,” with a combined worldwide box-office over $ 61 million, executive produces and manages worldwide sales of “Seal Team.”
Lundgren and Rhys join the likes of Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”); four-time Annie Award nominee Patrick Warburton (“Family Guy”); Emmy nominee Kristen Schaal (“Toy Story 3”) and South Africa’s Sharlto Copley (“District 9”).
British Grammy Award-winner Seal and South African John Kani (“The Lion King,” “Black Panther”) also give voice to the team of intrepid seals in the action-comedy toon.
Jessie T. Usher (“The Boys”) voices the main character and hero, Quinn, a seal who spends most of his days splashing off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa when not swimming for his life from the great white sharks. He decides one day that it’s time to lash back at these pesky predators and recruits a ragtag team of seals, brave and foolish enough to think that they can teach those sharks a lesson.
Lundgren gives voice to the suave, ex-special ops dolphin, Dolph. “We called the dolphin character Dolph because we thought it was hilarious, and the snowball kept on rolling and growing until the man himself actually agreed to be in the film,” said writer-director Greig Cameron who sees his film as a tribute to the ‘80s and ‘90s action films he grew up with.
“Having an icon of that era actually be in our film is so totally perfect. [Lundgren] was fun to work with and really gracious with all the silly, over-the-top stuff we asked him to do: Getting one of my favorite grizzled action stars to ‘Ek ek ek’ like a dolphin is the life-long dream I didn’t know I had until it happened,” he mused.
Said Rhys, who voices the mafia boss-like alpha shark, Grimes: “I wanted to be in ‘Seal Team’ partly because my four-year-old son is obsessed with sharks and partly because Grimes isn’t evil, just misunderstood. Getting to voice an enormous, scary shark was more fun than I imagined.”
“I watched Matthew [Rhys] in ‘A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood’… and after crying for pretty much the whole of that emotional, moving, heart-warming film, I was like, ‘This is our terrifying villain!’ Well, not exactly, but it did show what an unbelievable actor he is,” said Cameron, who has written and directed 45 episodes of the hit series “Supa Strikas,” broadcast on Disney XD in over 130 territories, among his multiple credits.
Cameron added: “From his first line in the booth, it was clear that we had our baddie: [Rhys] had all the sleazy salesman charm I was looking for, with constant menace lurking underneath. When he shouted he was scary; when he whispered he was even scarier! And Matthew was so funny as well. It is the fate of most animated film villains to spend their days dealing with idiot henchmen and the way he captured that on-edge exasperation cracks me up every time.” Cameron has been working from his original story and screenplay alongside Brian and Jason Cleveland, and Wayne Thornley.
In addition to producing “Seal Team,” Triggerfish is also in production on “Mama K’s Team 4,” the first animated Netflix Original series from Africa, and the Africa-set series “Kiya” for eOne, Disney Junior and Disney Plus. Both projects came out of their ambitious 2015 pan-African talent search, The Triggerfish Story Lab.
“Khumba” is having a closing-night open air screening at Annecy this year, eight years after premiering in competition at the Alpine French-set festival in 2013.
The hybrid 60th Annecy runs June 14-19.