NEW YORK, March 20, 2007 â€“ An all-star cast will provide voices for the main characters in Academy Award nominee Shane Ackerâ€™s animated epic 9, which is currently in production for Focus Features. Focus CEO James Schamus made the announcement today.
Elijah Wood (of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Focus’ Academy Award-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) will voice the title role of 9. Joining him are Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly (of Focus’ upcoming Reservation Road), actor/filmmaker Crispin Glover (whose films as actor include River’s Edge), Academy Award winner Martin Landau (Ed Wood), two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Plummer (who returns to Broadway this spring, starring in Inherit the Wind), and John C. Reilly (Talladega Nights).
Scripted by Pamela Pettler, 9 is being produced by Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, and Jim Lemley. Focus creative executive David Gerson is overseeing the project for president of production John Lyons. Focus is financing 9 and holds worldwide rights to the movie.
[ad#longpost]9 is a feature-length expansion of Mr. Ackerâ€™s short film of the same name. The action-packed tale takes place in a world parallel to our own, in which the very legacy of humanity is threatened. A community of fully mobile rag dolls living a post-apocalyptic existence find one of their own, 9 (Mr. Wood), displaying leadership qualities that may help them to survive. The conflicted but resilient community includes 1 (Mr. Plummer), a domineering war veteran; 2 (Mr. Landau), an aged inventor; 5 (Mr. Reilly), a stalwart mechanic; 6 (Mr. Glover), a visionary and artist; and 7 (Ms. Connelly), a brave warrior.
Mr. Schamus said, “This exciting and thought-provoking story has already drawn a strong filmmaking team together to work with Shane in bringing his visionary fantasy world to life. These splendid actors will provide compelling characterizations to go with the visual brilliance.”
Mr. Acker received dual Masters degrees from UCLA in Architecture and Animation. His 9 short won the Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards as well as “Best in Show” honors at the 2005 SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater. At the 2005 (San Diego) Comic-Con, Mr. Acker won Best Animated Film (for the 9 short) and a Special Judges’ Choice Award. He was an Academy Award nominee last year, as the 9 short was up for Best Animated Short Film.
Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) is a motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company committed to bringing moviegoers the most original stories from the world’s most innovative filmmakers.
In addition to 9, upcoming Focus Features releases include Lajos Koltai’s Evening, starring Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Vanessa Redgrave, Patrick Wilson, Hugh Dancy, Natasha Richardson, Mamie Gummer, Eileen Atkins, Meryl Streep, and Glenn Close; Kasi Lemmons‘ Talk to Me, starring Don Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor; Henry Selick‘s stop-motion animated feature Coraline, starring Dakota Fanning and Teri Hatcher; Joe Wright’s Atonement, starring Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, and Romola Garai; David Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts; Terry George’s Reservation Road, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Ruffalo, Ms. Connelly, and Mira Sorvino; Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes; and Lust, Caution, the new film from Ang Lee, the Academy Award-winning director of Focus’ worldwide success Brokeback Mountain.
Focus Features is part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.