“The Hobbit” needs a director, Woody gets a statue and Pixar nods to Chuck Jones
In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, “The Hobbit” loses its director, Woody gets a statue and Pixar nods to Chuck Jones.
On the heels of Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro telling the One Ring website that Del Toro won’t be directing the two movies based on “The Hobbit,” Anne Thompson wonders who will take over, assuming that the turmoil at MGM is resolved and the project goes ahead. She says the obvious choice is “Lord of the Rings” director Jackson, who’s co-writing and executive-producing the films. Jackson’s manager says he doesn’t have the time now but “he and Fran [Walsh] will stop at nothing to protect this franchise and the investment made by New Line, Warners and MGM.” Sounds as if the door is open, particularly if things are delayed long enough for Jackson to finish work on “Tin Tin” with Steven Spielberg. Thompson thinks Sam Raimi would be a good second choice (I’d prefer somebody a little more offbeat), and her list of other names that have been mentioned includes a few intriguing possibilities: David Fincher, Danny Boyle, Neill Blomkamp, Julie Taymor and "somebody from Pixar." (Thompson on Hollywood)
While we’re on the subject of Pixar, Bill Desowitz looks at the company’s new short, “Day & Night” (right), and talks to director Teddy Newton about a film inspired by Chuck Jones classics like “Duck Amuck” and “The Dot and the Line.” The short, which will show before “Toy Story 3,” mixes hand-drawn animation and CG in a way rare for Pixar, or anybody else – and it sounds as if it was a nightmare to make, mixing two processes and using 3D in a way that didn’t fit any of the procedures Pixar had developed over the years. I know Pixar has stopped winning Oscars for its animated shorts, but this one sounds fresh and daring enough that at the very least it should be a nominee — assuming it’s good, which Pixar pretty much always is. (Animation World Network)
Also on the toon front, British animators aren’t happy that overseas tax breaks are luring work overseas – including, to add insult to injury, a short film that showcases the mascots of the 2012 London Olympics, which was produced in China. The makers of Wallace & Gromit, Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine, among others, have now created Animation UK and are lobbying for tax breaks of their own. (The Guardian)
The Russian town of Kaliningrad, which is located near the borders of Poland and Lithuania, used to be known as Konisberg. So did Woody Allen, who was born Allen Konigsberg. And that, apparently, is connection enough for the city to be planning to erect a statue to the director, even though he has no other ties to the town. Russian director Masha Vasyukova tells Vanessa Thorpe that the idea started as a joke, until the local newspaper got behind it. Allen himself has given his blessing to the scheme, and said he prefers a design in which a pair of horn-rimmed glasses would sit on a post five feet, two inches above the ground. That’s Allen’s height, five-feet-five, minus the distance between the top of his head and his glasses. (The Observer)
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