Shane Acker, the director of the atmospheric Oscar-nominated short 9, was a special guest at the ANIMATION SHOW screening in LA a couple nights ago. I had the opportunity to do a short Q&A with him on-stage after the screening and there were lots of excellent questions from the audience. One of the primary topics of discussion was about how 9 is currently being adapted into a full-length animated feature. I can’t think of a better short to be expanded into a feature. There’s plenty of cinematic vision in Shane’s original short as well as the sense of a fully developed world that’s just begging to be explored and fleshed out. Acker is also directing the feature and the producers include Tim Burton and NIGHT WATCH director Timur Bekmambetov.
The feature version of 9 is being animated in Luxembourg at Attitude studios and will be released by Focus Features. During our Q&A, Shane announced for the first time the voice cast for his film. The leads are Christopher Plummer, Martin Landau, Elijah Wood and John C. Reilly. If that voice cast is any indication, this isn’t going to be your typical paint-by-numbers CG feature and that’s something to be excited about. Focus Features, which is the art house arm of Universal Pictures, is also the distributor of Henry Selick’s upcoming flick CORALINE (currently being produced at Laika).