The Call of the Wild The Call of the Wild

Chris Sanders is the latest animation director to heed the call of the live-action world. A veteran of Disney and Dreamworks, Sanders is making his live-action directorial debut with The Call of the Wild, whose first trailer was released yesterday.

The film, which will be released by 20th Century Fox (now a subsidiary of Disney), is based on Jack London’s classic novel of the same name. Watch the trailer and read the official synopsis below:

Adapted from the beloved literary classic, The Call of the Wild vividly brings to the screen the story of Buck, a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail delivery dog sled team — and later its leader — Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime, ultimately finding his true place in the world and becoming his own master.

The Call of the Wild has one foot (one paw?) in the animation world: Buck, along with the other animals in the film, are brought to life through photorealistic cgi. The film’s animation and effects are led by MPC’s studio in Montreal, with Erik Nash serving as vfx supervisor. (MPC also handled the entire vfx production, including the photorealistic cg animals, in Disney’s remake of The Lion King.) Harrison Ford leads the human cast as John Thornton, Buck’s grizzled companion; he’s joined by Dan Stevens, Omar Sy, Karen Gillan, Bradley Whitford, and Colin Woodell.

Sanders cut his teeth at Disney, serving in various capacities — including storyboard artist, character designer, and voice actor — on its 1990s features, before writing and directing Lilo & Stitch with Dean DeBlois. Their partnership continued at Dreamworks, where they wrote and directed How to Train Your Dragon together. Sanders also wrote and directed The Croods with Kirk DeMicco.

As well as Sanders’s live-action debut, The Call of the Wild is the first feature on which he has sole credit as director. The film is produced by Erwin Stoff and executive produced by Diana Pokorny and Ryan Stafford. The adapted screenplay is by Michael Green (Logan, Blade Runner 2049).

The Call of the Wild releases in the U.S. on February 21, 2020.

The Call of the Wild poster

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