David Pimentel, head of story on Disney’s Moana, and Douglas Sweetland, longtime Pixar animator and co-director of WB’s Storks, have been brought onboard to direct Darkmouth, an animated feature for Alcon Entertainment.
Based on a children’s book series by Irish author Shane Hegarty, the comedic fantasy-adventure will be adapted for the screen by Lloyd Taylor, who most recently worked on Fox Animation’s upcoming Pigeon Impossible, directed by Troy Quane and Nick Bruno.
Darkmouth is described by the producers as the story of an overeager kid who bites off more than he can chew when he prematurely jumps into the family monster-hunting business.
Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove will produce along with Simon Brooks (Love, Rosie) of Canyon Creek Films, 8:38’s Kira Davis (Prisoners), and Craig Peck, who produced the short film Chalk for Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Prior to working on Moana, Pimentel had worked as a story artist on Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon. He was head of story on Bee Movie, and an animator at Disney on films like Tarzan, Treasure Planet, and Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
Besides Storks, Doug Sweetland wrote and directed the Pixar short Presto, and also supervised the animation for Google’s interactive short Windy Day. Sweetland was a key figure in Pixar’s animation department, working as an animator or supervising animator on the studio’s first seven features.
Alcon, whose primary investor is FedEx CEO and founder Fred Smith, has produced Hollywood hits like The Book of Eli and The Blind Side, but has rarely made animation, the notable exception being the 2005 live-action/CG talking animal-pic Racing Stripes. The company has been eyeing an expansion into feature animation, and last year announced that it would produce a series of all-cg Garfield feature films.