This month, Storks will be sent out into the world as the second theatrical release from Warner Animation Group. As with most major animated films, their were two directors at the helm. But unlike most major animated films, one director comes from the world of live-action comedy while another is an up-and-coming talent. Odd director parings like this aren’t very common in feature animation as a whole, as both directors are usually animators who come up through the ranks. But it might be indicative of how WAG might operate if this latest story is any proof.
According to a recent report from Variety, mutli-talent comedian Dax Shepard is currently in negotiations to co-direct the upcoming 2018 film S.C.O.O.B. with Tony Cervone. As part of those negotiations, he will also co-write the screenplay with Matt Lieberman.
Jessie Ehrman, who is overseeing S.C.O.O.B. as well as Shepard’s upcoming film adaptation of the TV show ChiPs for WB, suggested that Shepard meet with studio executives after he had expressed prior interest in the film. As it happens, this meeting aligned perfectly with WB’s plans for the movie, as they reportedly always envisioned two directors taking on the property.
If things go as planned, S.C.O.O.B. will mark Shepard’s first foray into feature animation. On television, he voiced two different character in three episodes of King of the Hill and he’s had cameo roles on Robot Chicken. His wife, Kristen Bell, should be a familiar name to animation fans: she was the voice of Princess Anna in Disney’s 2013 smash hit Frozen. Last I heard, she was beginning to record sessions for Frozen 2.
Once again, we see an odd pairing of two different strengths. Shepard is coming to feature animation with expertise as a comedian and an up-and-coming director in the realm of live-action comedy filmmaking. Compare with Tony Cervone, an animation veteran who has two and a half decades worth of experience in the business in multiple areas. Not to mention, he knows Scooby-Doo inside and out, as he was both producer and supervising producer on multiple direct-to-DVD Scooby-Doo movies. Most famously, he was a supervising producer on the fan-favorite TV series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
We won’t know how well this odd-pairing approach will work until Storks arrives in theaters on Spetember 23, but like other elements of WAG’s emerging house style, it could go a long way towards establishing a studio brand that’s separate from other animation houses.
S.C.O.O.B. will bring the iconic Hanna-Barbera property to theatrical feature animation for the first time and is planned as the start of a potential shared universe of animated films based on other Hanna-Barbera properties.
S.C.O.O.B. is set to hit theaters on September 21, 2018.
What do you think? Is this comedian-animator director pairing the right approach for this film?