AnimationFix: Your regular round-up of the latest animation news, from HitFix reporter Emily Rome
Kristen Bell is opening the door into musical animation again.
The Frozen star will produce and perform original songs for new preschool toon Do, Re & Mi along with Jackie Tohn, a finalist in American Idol“s sixth season.
The project comes from Gaumont Television, the production company behind Hannibal, Netflix”s Narcos, and animated Netflix series F Is for Family.
“Music has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Bell said in a statement released Monday. “I hope this show will inspire a new generation of kids and expose them to the benefits of music, which can be incredibly inspirational, encouraging and fun all at the same time.”
So Do, Re & Mi will celebrate music with its prevalence of original songs and with its story: The series is about musical note Mi, who searches for his song, his raison d”être each day with friends Do and Re.
There will be 52 episodes of Do, Re & Mi, each 11 minutes long. No premiere date has been announced yet, but it”s possible the series will be ready in time for Bell”s two children (who are 3 and 1½ now) to be the right age for the show”s preschool target audience.
• Warner Bros. Animation sets another con premiere: Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders will have its world premiere on October 6 aptly in Gotham itself, at New York Comic Con, WB announced Monday. Adam West, returning to his iconic role to voice Caped Crusaders” Batman, will be in attendance at the post-premiere panel. This event follows fellow animated Batman flick The Killing Joke getting its premiere screening at San Diego Comic-Con this summer. Presumably the premiere of the kid-friendly Caped Crusaders won”t provoke the kind of outrage Killing Joke did when the SDCC premiere unveiled a major change from the Alan Moore comic.
• Hamilton“s Angelica joins The Lion Guard: Renée Elise Goldsberry, who picked up a Tony for playing the oldest and the wittiest Schuyler sister in Hamilton, has signed on to a project that”s taking her the full circle of life. She played Nala in The Lion King in her Broadway debut in 2002, and now she”s joined an upcoming episode of Disney Junior”s The Lion Guard, which continues the story of the lions of the Pride Lands. Goldsberry”s character is Dhahabu, the “charismatic leader of a group of zebras,” TVLine reported on Monday.
• U.S. trailer for Miss Hokusai hits the web: A trailer promoting this Japanese anime to American audience is now online, and a U.S. release date is set for October 14, when it will start rolling out in L.A. and New York theaters. The film comes from Production I.G., the company that made the acclaimed animated adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. Miss Hokusai is about 19th century artist Katsushika Hokusai, his story seen through the eyes of his daughter. Its release in Japan was back in May 2015, and it”s received stellar reviews both from Japanese and American critics. Film festivals, including Annecy, have also been showering Miss Hokusai with awards. Maybe we”ll see two animation films inspired by historical Japan nominated for next year”s Oscars – this one may be right there alongside Kubo and the Two Strings.
• A peek at a never-made Mary Poppins ride: Legendary Imagineer Tony Baxter shared his pitch book featuring concept art for a ride based on Mary Poppins. Baxter, now 69, made the pitch book as a college student in hopes that it would get him hired at what was then WED Enterprises, before it was called Disney Imagineering. The whole ride is based on the animated sequence of Mary Poppins – penguins, chalk-drawn landscapes, loose carousel horses, and all. You can watch Baxter flip through the pitch book in the below video from Disney23, released Monday:
• Student Academy Award winners announced: The AMPAS has unveiled the winners of its student awards. In the animation category are two 3D animated shorts – Die Flucht by Carter Boyce of DePaul University and The Wishgranter by Echo Wu of Ringling College of Art and Design – and one 2D computer animated film, Once Upon a Line by USC student Alicja Jasina. All three are allowed to submit in the Oscars” Animated Short Film category.
• Individual animation Emmy winners revealed: Ahead of the Emmy Awards next month, the Television Academy announced the first round of winners on Monday, including the juried category Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation. Three of the five honorees, listed below, went to artists on Cartoon Network series.
Adventure Time, Episode: “Bad Jubies” (Cartoon Network): Jason Kolowski, Production Designer
Adventure Time, Episode: “Stakes Pt. 8: The Dark Cloud” (Cartoon Network): Tom Herpich, Storyboard Artist
He Named Me Malala, (National Geographic Channel): Jason Carpenter, Animation Production Designer)
Long Live The Royals, Episode: “Punk Show” (Cartoon Network): Chris Tsirgiotis, Background Designer
Robot Chicken DC Comics Special III: Magical Friendship (Adult Swim) Scott DaRos, Character Animator