Animation veterans Eric “Bibo” Bergeron and Mike de Seve have partnered to launch a new venture called Monkey’s Uncle, which they announced at Annecy a couple weeks ago. They plan to turn the company into a hub for top animation talents who will develop original animation features in the $25-75 million range.
The company will also provide pre-production services from development through greenlight for companies who have already secured financing for feature film projects. “Our goal is to provide producers access to some of the most sought-after creative talents available,” said de Seve. “The aim is to be a complete, boots-on-the-ground solution for any company that has production capacity but needs to build out its front-end creative vision.”
The duo has decades of industry experience. Bergeron co-directed two films at DreamWorks—The Road to El Dorado and Shark Tale—before directing the recent French feature A Monster in Paris. De Seve was a sequence director on Madagascar and did script consulting on six DreamWorks features, as well as co-directed the feature Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. He also operates the animation screenwriting consultancy Baboon Animation.
Other artists involved in Monkey’s Uncle are character designer Buck Lewis, whose credits include Kung Fu Panda, Alvin and the Chipumunks, and Ratatouille, and story artist Jurgen Grosz, who has worked on Rango, Open Season, and Chicken Run.
Among the four original features that the studio is currently developing, Murphy’s Outlaw is furthest along in development. The planned $25 million feature is based on the “Murphy’s Law” adage of “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong,” and explores the universe of The Murphies, the hairy gremlins who cause everything to go wrong for humans.