There hasn’t been much news about Alcon Entertainment’s all-animation Garfield feature since the project was announced back in 2016, but the studio made a big announcement this afternoon: Mark Dindal is onboard as the film’s animation director.
Dindal, 58, is best known as the director of animated features like Cats Don’t Dance, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Chicken Little. “Comic strip characters have always had a special appeal to me,” he said in a statement. “To have this opportunity to make a film with a classic character like Garfield is a privilege and a thrill.”
Alcon has previously said that it envisions the film as the first in a series of Garfield animated features.
The new Garfield film was scripted by the writing team of Paul A. Kaplan (George Lopez) and Mark Torgove (Raising Hope). Pre-production is set to begin next month in Los Angeles.
Garfield creator Jim Davis, 73, is executive producing. “I’ve been so impressed with the quality of animation and storytelling coming out of Hollywood of late,” he said. “I can’t wait to get into production with the terrific team Alcon has assembled.”
John Cohen (Despicable Me, The Angry Birds Movie) and Steven P. Wegner (Dolphin Tale 2) brought the project to Alcon and will co-produce along with Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. Bridget McMeel from Amuse will executive produce with Davis.
Warner Bros. will distribute the film as part of a long-term output distribution agreement with Alcon.
Alcon, whose primary investor is Fedex CEO and founder Fred Smith, has produced hit live-action films 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. Last year, it announced another animated feature, Darkmouth, to be directed by David Pimentel and Doug Sweetland.