WB Gets 'Muppets' and 'Cloudy' Filmmakers for Animation Think Tank
by Ethan Anderton
January 7, 2013
As the studio continues to build their LEGO movie (once titled LEGO: Piece of Resistance) brick by brick, Warner Bros. is putting together what they call a "feature animation creative consortium" to develop and produce new animated films with a goal of releasing one each year, starting in 2014. LEGO movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (above) are part of the group that will frame and guide a variety of projects from start to finish, and they'll also be joined by Crazy Stupid Love directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, The Muppets writer Nicholas Stoller and Mr. Popper's Penguins writer Jared Stern. Read on!
The LEGO Movie (as it's currently being touted) is the first venture from the think tank. Slated for release on February 7th, 2014, the film features a fantastic voice ensemble cast with the likes of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, and Morgan Freeman. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs duo Lord and Miller wrote the film and are also directing. The story follows Emmett, a normal LEGO mini-figure who is mistaken for the mythical "Master Builder" and whisked away on a quest to save the entire LEGO world before an evil tyrant glues the universe together.
In addition, two more animated films from this group are already in the works. Storks will be written by Nicholas Stoller (who also has his foot in adult comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and directed by Doug Sweetland, the man behind the Pixar short film Presto. Meanwhile, Requa and Ficarra are writing Smallfoot, a film based on an original idea from Sergio Pablos - who came up with the story behind Despicable Me and has served as an animator on films like Disney's Tarzan and A Goofy Movie - and he'll also direct. The films are aiming to hit theaters in 2015 and 2016 respectively, but no story details or voice cast have been revealed. With this kind of talent venturing into animation, this sounds very promising.