Twenty-thousand years ago. The Earth is a wondrous, prehistoric world filled with danger, not the least of which is the beginning of the Ice Age. To avoid a really bad frostbite, the planet's majestic creatures - and a few small, slothful ones - begin migrating south. The exceptions are a woolly mammoth named Manfred, a high plains drifter who does things his own way; and a terminally lazy sloth named Sid, who enjoys doing nothing, his own way.
When Sid "adopts" Manfred as his protector, the mammoth tries everything he can to unload his newfound baggage. But that's only the beginning of his frustrations: Manny has been roped by Sid into helping reunite an abandoned human baby named Roshan with his family. They are joined by Diego, a sinister saber-toothed tiger who befriends Sid and Manny, all the while seeing the infant as a tasty treat.
As Sid, Manny and Diego make their way across the vast, ice-covered landscape, another creature, a prehistoric squirrel / rat known as Scrat, tries desperately to carry out his mission in life - to bury an acorn - which, alas, triggers calamitous events.
While Scrat wages war with the Ice Age itself over his precious nut, Manny, Sid, Diego and Roshan embark on an incredible journey. They narrowly escape avalanches, battle over food with a hapless flock of doomsday dodos, explore the mysteries of a diaper, careen through a prehistoric roller coaster of ice funnels and traverse ice bridges over lakes of volcanic lava. They become the weirdest herd of this, or any, age.
As for Scrat … He is probably still trying to retrieve that cursed acorn.
Welcome to the prehistoric world of ICE AGE, a smart, character-based comedy and all-digital animated feature film from Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Academy Award®-winning director Chris Wedge. Wedge won the Oscar® for directing the animated short "Bunny," whose realistic lighting effects gave the film a unique look, feel and organic realism. "'Bunny' demonstrated Chris and Blue Sky's ability to create a character with great personality, expressed through acting, that is distinctly subtle," says executive producer Christopher Meledandri. "While watching Blue Sky's anthropomorphic giant Bunny, you are absolutely convinced it is living and breathing. "
Wedge, one of the founders of Blue Sky Studios, where both "Bunny" and ICE AGE were produced, played a key role in developing the company's proprietary lighting software. Now, he and his team of animators, technicians and scientists use state-of-the-art tools to render three-dimensional environments that take us into the heretofore unexplored world of an ice age - and introduce us to four sub-zero heroes: Manny, "The Heavy," voiced by Ray Romano; Sid, "The Smooth Operator," voiced by John Leguizamo; Diego, "The Double Agent," voiced by Denis Leary … and Scrat, "The Squeak Attack. "
According to Wedge, ICE AGE has everything, including action, humor, adventure and heart. Perhaps that explains why, when asked to offer a thumbnail description of the film, Wedge and his colleagues at Blue Sky have more than a few at the ready. "It's a comedy of peril," says the director, who at times was known to also refer to ICE AGE as "three prehistoric mammals and a baby. " Producer Lori Forte, who developed the story idea with Twentieth Century Fox Animation executives, calls ICE AGE "a story about the first dysfunctional family. " Others on the production team would refer to it as a buddy picture or even a road movie (without the car, of course).
But more than anything else, Wedge insists, ICE AGE is about four characters, three of which unexpectedly come together to form a family, while the fourth helps bring on an ice age that descends upon these characters like a curtain coming down. "Each character is on a journey for his own personal reasons, each having his own agenda. Coming together was not a situation that any of them expected, or thought they needed. "
These figures and the relationships that develop between them form the heart and soul of ICE AGE. When we first meet Manny, the massive woolly mammoth is walking against the tide of creatures migrating south, fleeing the onslaught of the ice age. "Manny's a lonely, aloof high plains drifter," says Wedge. "He's heading north just because everyone else is heading south. " Adds Ray Romano: "Manny is a bit of a misanthrope, he doesn't really like or have the time for anyone. But his gruff exterior hides a good heart. And he has principles, so when he meets Sid, the human baby and Diego, he has to help. "
Romano, a fixture in millions of homes every Monday night on "Everybody Loves Raymond," was central in bringing out these characteristics. "We cast the actors, including Ray, according to their sensibilities and attitudes," explains Lori Forte. "Ray has a great comedy voice and a reserved tongue-in-cheek cynicism that really helped define Manny. It's a loving yet curmudgeon-like voice that's dry and sharp. "
As skilled as the actor's voice work may be, it takes a lot more to create the "performance" of an animated character. And for Manny, the team at Blue Sky had their work cut out for them. The mammoth's size and features, such as a long trunk that covers his face, plus his abundance of fur, made him one of the more challenging characters to animate. Character designer Peter deSève explains: "The fur increases the level of detail needed to render the image. A woolly mammoth isn't simply an elephant with long hair, so we were working with a creature that has never appeared in animated form. We had to decide how the fur falls, the shape of the tendrils, and figure out a lot of new shape relationships. "
A different kind of relationship is provided by the dynamic between Manny and Sid, the terminally-lazy sloth who joins Manny, much against the latter's wishes, in a journey that neither expected. "Manny sees Sid as a thorn in his side," says Ray Romano, "but Manny ultimately sees something in him. Sid brings out the good in Manny; it's a little like an older brother / younger brother relationship. "
Sid's over-the-top antics, combined with his endearing qualities, makes him the comic core of the movie. "Sid is possibly the reason sloths got their reputation," notes Chris Wedge. "He's a lazy guy who knows he's about to become someone's meal unless he hooks up with a big brother, a bodyguard, so he gloms onto Manny. "
The filmmakers cast John Leguizamo as the voice of Sid. "John has a great, quick street delivery that really helped Sid come alive," says Forte.
Leguizamo prepared for the role by watching tapes of the arboreal, slow-moving mammals. Not surprisingly, it wasn't the most exciting experience. "Sloths move like 'do, dee, doo, de, do, you know, really, really slow," states the actor.
More significantly, the filmmakers provided Leguizamo with character sketches, as well as a clay model and computer renderings, all of which helped him figure out Sid's voice and emotion. After experimenting with almost thirty voices, Leguizamo eventually found Sid's voice very close to home. "Sid eventually just came out being sort of like me," says Leguizamo, "only a bit higher and more animated. " He also gave Sid a lateral lisp, after learning that sloths store food inside their cheeks, much like chipmunks and squirrels. Adds Meledandri: "We knew what Sid looked like and that his role had the greatest comedic potential, but we had no idea how he would sound. Not only did John work with Chris to create the voice, he really gave the character personality and its soul. "
Due to the sloths' innate slowness, and to make Sid visually complex and exciting, the Blue Sky animators took a few artistic liberties with the character. "We gave Sid a lot of flexibility," explains Wedge. "He can bend, turn, and twist. He talks fast, and unlike actual sloths, can be fast moving at times. But in keeping with Sid's real-life brethren, we had him saving energy by restricting his arm movements, lending an overall feel of laziness. "
The third member of the wacky triumvirate, Diego, the saber-toothed tiger, has an agenda that has more to do with survival, then striking up friendships with a woolly mammoth and a sloth. Like Manny, Diego has an acerbic quality with a heart that he has yet to be able to show. "He never knew what family is, or what friends are," notes Wedge, who conceived Diego and his fellow tigers as a militant faction of animals trying to figure out how they are going to survive the ice age. "We treat them like a combat unit. "
With the casting of Denis Leary as Diego, the filmmakers again found the perfect union of voice and character. "Denis, like many of the roles he plays, puts on a tough exterior, but you know he really cares," says Wedge of the actor whose charitable work on behalf of firefighters and law enforcement officials has long been recognized. "Denis really puts across that Diego is a 'tough guy' with a lot of heart, but who doesn't yet realize he even has one. "
Having voiced the role of Francis, the ladybug in "A Bug's Life," Denis Leary was no stranger to working in animated films. But he sees his role in ICE AGE as a new direction for him in the genre. "For years," Leary comments, "a whole generation of kids, including my own, have known me as a ladybug. So I thought it would be cool - and more like the real me - to be a saber-toothed tiger.
"They kind of based Diego on my personality," Leary adds, laughing. "You know, good looking, feared by men, adored by women. Except the teeth. "
According to co-director Carlos Saldanha, Diego was the most complex character to animate, in terms of his range of movements. "Diego is capable of great speed, and we show that," says Saldanha. "We also have him doing some pretty extreme poses. But at the same time, he can be very contained, and carry dialogue with only his facial expressions. "
According to executive producer Meledandri, the work of character designer Peter deSève was critical to making these characters come alive. "We were very fortunate to have Peter stay on the picture through production," says Meledandri. "It allowed us to maintain the integrity of the original designs as the characters started to flow through the production process of modeling, rigging and then animation. "
Diego, Manny and Sid, plus their "cargo" - the human infant Roshan - together make up this ice age's first dysfunctional family. There is one additional character who, while not a part of this family dynamic, plays a key role in the environment that surrounds them - adding some doses of wild fun in the process.
The filmmakers created Scrat, a combination of squirrel and rat (Wedge also refers to it as a "saber-toothed squirrel"), initially as a means of giving the ice age itself a presence. "I felt that if we were going to make a movie about the ice age," explains Wedge, "that the ice age should itself be a character. We decided the best way to do that was to send it up against one of the animals you might find there. So we came up with the hapless Scrat. "
Hapless, indeed. All the creature wants is to bury an acorn, as squirrels tend to do for the winter (and isn't the ice age like the ultimate winter?) But as Scrat tries to ram the nut into a glacier, he inadvertently starts the ice age by cracking the ice, causing the glacier to move forward. A wild chase ensues, as Scrat is pursued by the mile-high piece of ice through the vast prehistoric landscape, all the while trying to collect and rescue his acorn.
This sequence, which opens ICE AGE, not only provides scale and scope to the natural wonders surrounding the characters, it sets the tone of the film. As production progressed, Scrat became a hit with audiences - via his appearance in the film's teaser trailer - as well as with the filmmakers. "We have him pop up periodically," says Wedge, "in one life-threatening situation or another, all to satisfy his need to bury that acorn. "
Wedge also lent his vocal talents to bring Scrat to life. While the creature never talks, his many grunts and groans, courtesy of his creator, makes Scat's "voice" expressive and fun.
Having Scrat trigger the ice age was only the first step - the tip of the iceberg, so to speak - in creating the film's environments. Since the dawn of the Earth's history, there have been several ice ages - periods during which thick sheets of ice covered vast areas of land, drastically reshaping surface features of entire continents. A giant glacier that could ultimately cover half the globe in ice overran lush tropical forests, scraping apart one era and lifting the curtain on another.
The film's ice age depicts a world that disappeared twenty thousand years ago. "I felt an ice age was a cool place in which to set the film because it's an alien world to us, and we could let our imaginations run with it," notes Wedge.
While imagination was king, the filmmakers also wanted to ground their ice age in reality. To research the period, the filmmakers turned to one of the world's few repositories of ice age artifacts: the American Museum of Natural History in New York. They spent countless hours looking at woolly mammoth bones, poring through hundreds of books, and consulting with leading paleontologists and archaeologists.
These scientists, while understanding that certain liberties with the facts were necessitated by story requirements, did insist that one species featured in several blockbuster films not appear in ICE AGE. "They said, 'Take any liberty you want," remembers Wedge, "'but please just tell us there aren't going to be any dinosaurs in this movie,'" as the Jurassic-era denizens had become extinct 350 million years earlier. "We assured them there would be none. "
The filmmakers set ICE AGE in North America, which informs the film's cultural and music references, as well as the art direction, color palette, and lighting. The lighting software used in the film, known as Ray Tracing, mimics the myriad subtleties of ambient light, rendering a rich, organic feel to ICE AGE's characters and sweeping vistas. Wedge and his team also employ Ray Tracing for the film's unique lighting scenarios, such as the way light scatters off the creatures' fur, with every piece of hair casting shadows.
Wedge elaborates: "Ray Tracing simulates the complexities of real light, mimicking the matrix of colors and shadow that we experience all the time in the real world. It's a kind of digital cinematography that lets us use our computers like a photographer uses a camera, making everything on screen look more compelling, inviting and tangible. "
The Blue Sky research and development used in ICE AGE extend beyond Ray Tracing. Particle type systems (rendering fur, atmospherics, landscapes that provide a feeling of scope and scale), volumetrics (steam rising off water) and fluid dynamics also make significant contributions to the film's unique look. "Blue Sky's work is a seamless marriage of art and technology," offers Meledandri.
Even with this high-tech wizardry, the filmmakers never underestimated the value of simple pencil and paper. "We'd often go back to pencil for fast feedback," says Wedge. "It's immediate and allowed us to quickly convey certain emotions. "
Also intrinsic to the filmmaking process were clay models, which became perfect 3-D representations of the characters that eventually were scanned into the Blue Sky computers, creating a digital 3-D version of the sculpture. Animators would then pose that character in time and space, creating a specific motion (like fat jiggling) and, ultimately, the character's performance.
As this intricate, lengthy and always challenging production process draws to a close, Chris Wedge reflects on his hopes for ICE AGE. "The film has something for all audiences - action, humor, adventure and heart - all in the context of a fantasy world that no one's ever seen. Audiences are going to expect the comedy, color, fun and action that are a part of most animated features. But I think ICE AGE's heart and emotion are going to surprise them. More than anything, I hope it just makes people feel good. "
ABOUT THE CAST
RAY ROMANO (Manny) stars in the top-rated comedy series "Everybody Loves Raymond," now in its sixth season. Romano plays Ray Barone, a successful sportswriter living on Long Island with his wife and three children. His meddling parents live directly across the street, infiltrating their son's home on a regular basis.
Romano admits that he always knew he could make his friends laugh, but he never really gave standup comedy any serious thought until one fateful open-mike night at a New York comedy club in l984. He did well, the bug bit hard, and Romano was smitten. After several odd jobs, including futon mattress delivery boy by day and journeyman comedian by night, he decided to pursue comedy full time, eventually winning a standup comedy competition that same year.
Following that success, Romano's regular appearances at comedy clubs throughout the country led to guest spots on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," then with Jay Leno, and finally on CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman," where host David Letterman recognized his talent and offered him a development deal with his production company, Worldwide Pants Incorporated. From that association, "Everybody Loves Raymond" evolved.
Romano has since performed at the White House Correspondents Dinner, headlined the Toyota Comedy Festival at New York's Carnegie Hall, guest hosted "Saturday Night Live," appeared (and won $125,000 for charity) on "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire," and appeared on the Grammy® Awards.
For his role in "Everybody Loves Raymond," he was nominated for an Emmy® Award in 1999 as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and for Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy at the Golden Globe Awards. He was nominated this year for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series by the Screen Actors Guild, for the TV Guide Favorite Actor in a Comedy Award, and for the People's Choice Award for Favorite Male TV Performer. He won the Funniest Male Lead in a TV Series at the 14th Annual American Comedy Awards and the 1999 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Comedy. He also won Best Actor, Quality Comedy, from the Viewers for Quality Television in l998.
Romano is the author of the book Everything and a Kite, based on his comedy.
JOHN LEGUIZAMO (Sid) currently appears on Broadway in his latest one-man show, "Sexaholix," following a nationwide tour. The new comedy act featured more jokes about his family life and include his new role as a father.
He starred this year in Twentieth Century Fox's acclaimed musical "Moulin Rouge," and in the comedy "What's the Worst Than Can Happen?"
Leguizamo's upcoming films include the thriller "Collateral Damage," opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger; and "Zigzag," co-starring Wesley Snipes and Natasha Lyonne. Other recent films include "Empire," "Joe the King" (which he also executive produced) and "King of the Jungle" (also executive producer).
Notable earlier films include Baz Luhrmann's "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" (as "Tybalt") for Twentieth Century Fox; "Summer of Sam," directed by Spike Lee; "Spawn," as a voice talent in Twentieth Century Fox's smash-hit comedy "Dr. Dolittle," and "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar," for which Leguizamo garnered a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance as a sensitive drag queen.
In 1991, Leguizamo had his first taste of success when he became an Off-Broadway sensation as the writer and performer of his one-man show, "Mambo Mouth. " He received an Obie?, Outer Critics Circle and Vanguardia Award for the play, in which he portrayed seven different characters. "Mambo Mouth" later aired on HBO, which led to his first television comedy special, Comedy Central's "The Talent Pool," for which he received a Cable ACE Award.
Leguizamo's second one-man show, "Spic-O-Rama," had an extended sold-out run in Chicago at the Goodman and Briar Street Theaters before opening to rave reviews and sellout houses in New York. The play received numerous awards including the Dramatists' Guild Hull-Warriner Award for Best American Play, and the Lucille Lortel Outstanding Achievement Award for Best Broadway Performance. He also received the Theatre World Award for Outstanding New Talent for his performance as well as a Drama Desk Award for Best Solo Performance. "Spic-O-Rama" also aired on HBO, receiving four Cable ACE Awards.
Leguizamo's one-man show, "Freak," ended a successful run on Broadway in 2000. Billed as a "Semi-Demi-Quasi-Pseudo Autobiography," "Freak" was written by Leguizamo and directed by David Bar Katz. Along with the Tony? Award nominations for Best Play and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, Leguizamo also won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo/One-Person Show and the Outer Critic's Circle Award for Outstanding Solo Performance. A special presentation of "Freak," directed by Spike Lee, aired on HBO and earned Leguizamo an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program, as well as a nomination for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.
Other stage credits include "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "La Puta Vida," at the New York Shakespeare Festival, and "Parting Gestures" at INTAR.
On television, Leguizamo starred in the mini-series "Arabian Nights. " In 1995, he set a precedent by creating and starring in the first Latin comedy/variety show, the Emmy-winning "House of Buggin" for Fox.
DENIS LEARY (Diego) stars in the ABC series "The Job," as well as serving as an executive producer, co-creator and co-writer.
Leary was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. While he was in college at Emerson in Boston, he got involved with acting and writing and was a founding member of the Emerson Comedy Workshop.
A series of infamous TV spots directed by Ted Demme for MTV vaulted Leary to national prominence, followed by the award-winning HBO special "No Cure for Cancer," based on Leary's one-man show, which he wrote and performed off-Broadway in a sold-out, six-month run. The show not only spawned a TV special, but also a book, a best-selling CD, an international hit song and a controversial music video. After that success, Leary and Demme teamed to make Leary's first feature film, "The Ref," and "Lock 'N' Load," Leary's second critically acclaimed HBO special.
In recent years, Leary has been seen in "True Crime," "The Thomas Crown Affair," and "Jesus' Son,' and lent his voice to the Disney hit "A Bug's Life. " Leary can also be seen in "Final," "Company Man" and "Lakeboat. "
Leary's production company, Apostle, most recently co-produced the film "Monument Avenue," in which Leary starred and Demme directed. Apostle also produced Demme's critically-acclaimed movie "Blow," as well as the forthcoming "Double Whammy. " Leary's company also has a film and television production deal with DreamWorks SKG.
Leary's first foray into directing was the Showtime movie "Lust," for which he won the CableACE Award for Best Director of a Comedy.
In 2000, Leary established The Leary Firefighters Foundation, in memory of his cousin, Jeremiah Lucey, who perished December 3, 1999 in a Worcester fire, along with five other firefighters. The foundation provides funding and resources to obtain the highest level of equipment, technology, and training for firefighters and resources to the families of those who have perished or have been injured in the line of duty.
The foundation's first event, the Celebrity Hat Trick, was held in Worcester on October 1 & 2, 2000. It consisted of a celebrity hockey game and golf tournament that featured such stars as Michael J. Fox, Tim Robbins, Aidan Quinn, Bobby Orr, Kiefer Sutherland, Scott Wolf, and Elizabeth Hurley. The event helped to raise over $300,000 for the Foundation.
Apostle annually produces The Comics Come Home New Year's Eve Special for Comedy Central, to benefit The Cam Neely Foundation, providing a home away from home for cancer patients and their families.
Leary has published comic essays in magazines including Details, Playboy, New York, and Premiere. Denis has also recently launched Crudegreetings. com, a Website that provides the crudest, rudest, and most offensive cards for all occasions.
GORAN VISNJIC (Soto) joined the cast of NBC's "ER" in 1999, playing the role of Dr. Luka Kovac, a Croatian doctor who immigrated to the United States after the violent deaths of his wife and children.
Visnjic grew up in Sibenik, Croatia, a port town on the Adriatic Sea, where he decided at an early age that he wanted to be an actor. He first performed in local theater groups and then entered the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. He gained popularity in Croatia when, at the age of 21, he was cast as Hamlet in the prestigious Dubrovnik Summer Festival's staging of Shakespeare's play. The production received rave reviews, with Visnjic's own performance earning him three national Best Actor awards, including an Orlando (the Croatian equivalent of a Tony).
Visnjic's additional theater credits include "Les Fourberies de Scapin," "L'Ecole des Femmes," "Miss Julie," "Ivanov," "The Brothers Karamazov" and "Le Baruffe Chiozotte. "
During his recent summer hiatus, Visnjic completed the independent film "The Deep End" directed by Scott McGhee, in which he starred opposite Tilda Swinton. He appeared with Heather Graham in Miramax' 2000 film "Committed," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and will star in the upcoming independent film "Doctor Sleep. "
Among Visnjic's other film credits are "Practical Magic," in which he starred alongside Nicole Kidman, and "The Peacemaker" also with Kidman and former "ER" star George Clooney.
Visnjic also starred in three Croatian features, and made his American motion-picture debut in the critically acclaimed drama, "Welcome to Sarajevo," directed by Michael Winterbottom.
JACK BLACK (Zeke) took on his first leading role in a feature film as the title character in "Shallow Hal. " Black's breakthrough film performance was in Stephen Frears' critically acclaimed comedy "High Fidelity" in which he played Barry, John Cusack's sarcastic music store employee. That role garnered Black a Blockbuster® Entertainment Award as well as nominations for a 2001 MTV Movie Award™ and 2001 American Comedy Award.
Black also had a starring role in "Saving Silverman" and last year was seen in the independent drama "Jesus' Son," opposite Billy Crudup. He made his feature film debut in Tim Robbins' "Bob Roberts. " Most recently, Black completed work on the forthcoming release "Orange County. "
Black is also the lead singer for the rock-folk group Tenacious D. , whose first album was recently released on Epic Records. Tenacious D. also had a variety series on HBO that aired in 1999.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
CHRIS WEDGE (Director) is an Oscar winning director, as well as co-founder and VP of Creative Development at Blue Sky Studios. He is the driving force behind the company's high standard of character animation. The studio's commitment to research and development has brought Blue Sky Studios to prominence as one of the top computer animation studios in the world.
Wedge's latest release, "Bunny," which won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, is the first film to use Radiosity, a complex computer application that recreates the most subtle properties of natural and ambient light. Its warm, cinematic style showcases Wedge's strong cinematic sensibility and sets new cinematic standards for the CGI community.
He has also directed the character animation sequences for the Warner Bros. /Geffen Films Production "Joe's Apartment," and was a supervising creative on the feature films "Alien Resurrection" (Twentieth Century Fox), "A Simple Wish" (The Bubble Factory) and "Star Trek Insurrection" (Paramount) as well as numerous commercials.
Beginning his career as a stop-motion animator, Wedge later joined MAGI/SynthaVision, where he was one of the principal animators for the groundbreaking Disney movie "Tron. " Wedge has taught animation at The School of Visual Arts (NY) at the MFA Computer Lab.
LORI FORTE (Producer) brings years of varied industry experience to her role as Producer on ICE AGE.
Forte began her career in Feature Animation at Disney, where she was the Creative Executive on the Academy Award nominees "Toy Story" and "Runaway Brain. " During her time at Disney, she was also involved with such films as "The Lion King" and "Pocahontas. " Forte then became a Producer for Twentieth Century Fox Animation, where she developed several animated feature ideas for the studio, among them ICE AGE.
Before her foray into feature animation, Forte was a television development executive at NBC, where she helped develop such comedy series as "Dear John" and "Empty Nest. " She also supervised the day-to-day running of "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd," "Valerie's Family" and "Alf. " Forte then joined Columbia Pictures Television where she was Vice President of Comedy Development, responsible for a variety of pilots and series including "Parker Lewis Can't Lose," "Married People" and "Living Dolls. "
MICHAEL J. WILSON (Story, Screenplay) has authored numerous feature film screenplays. He co-wrote the upcoming Jackie Chan action-comedy "The Tuxedo," also starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. He also contributed to "Little Giants" and "The Flintstones. " For television, he created and executive produced the CBS series "Sydney. "
MICHAEL BERG (Screenplay) co-wrote the 1996 feature film comedy "New Jersey Turnpikes," starring Kelsey Grammer, Robert Conrad and Orlando Jones. In addition to penning screenplays, he has written articles, features and short stories for magazines such as Details and Rosebud.
PETER ACKERMAN's (Screenplay) play "Things You Shouldn't Say Past Midnight" ran Off-Broadway, has been published, and has been presented and is under option in several other countries. It recently was performed and audio recorded for LA Theatreworks, and he has a pilot deal with Paramount Network Television to adapt the play.
Ackerman directed two of his one-act plays, "Dancers" and "Broken Creatures," and staged a reading of his full-length play, "Thanksgiving," while earning an MFA degree at the American Conservatory Theater. Another of his plays, "The Urn," received a reading at Playwrights Horizons, and was later produced at New York's Irish Arts Center.
As an actor he has performed Off-Broadway with Eli Wallach in "Visiting Mr. Green," and currently can be seen in "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). " His two-man vaudeville show, "The Hate Brothers" (which he co-wrote and co-performed with Christopher Hickman) ran at Solo Arts Group.
CHRISTOPHER MELEDANDRI (Executive Producer) was named President of Twentieth Century Fox Animation Studios in February 1998. Meledandri oversees all aspects of the division, including New York-based Blue Sky Studios, which Twentieth Century Fox Animation Studios acquired in 1999. Blue Sky is a top computer graphics/feature film animation studio.
In June 2000, Fox released the science fiction epic adventure "Titan A. E. ," directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, and starring Matt Damon, Bill Pullman and Drew Barrymore.
"Kung Pow: Enter the Fist," a unique martial arts spoof written and directed by Steve Oedekerk, was acquired by Twentieth Century Fox Animation Studios as a negative pickup, and was released earlier this year. Another Twentieth Century Fox Animation Studios production, "Monkeybone," a comedy directed by Henry Selick, and starring Brendan Fraser, was released in 2001.
. Meledandri previously was President of Fox Family Films, where he oversaw the production of the animated feature film "Anastasia. " The critically acclaimed movie was released in November 1997, grossing over $127 million worldwide. As the division's president, Meledandri also supervised the production of "Ever After" starring Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston and Dougray Scott. As the division's senior V. P, then executive V. P, Meledandri oversaw "Baby's Day Out" and "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie. "
Prior to joining Fox, Meledandri was executive producer on the films "Cool Runnings," "Swing Kids" and "Sister Act II," and the Sundance award-winning "Fly By Night. " He previously produced "Opportunity Knocks" for Imagine Entertainment.
CARLOS SALDANHA (Co-Director) has been part of Blue Sky Studios' creative team since 1993, after finishing his animated short film "Time for Love," which has been screened at animation festivals around the world. Saldanha has won several awards, including the People's Choice Award at Images du Futur in Montreal and Best Artistic Film at the International Computer Film Festival in Geneva, Switzerland.
Saldanha was Blue Sky's Supervising Animator for the talking and dancing roaches in the feature film "Joe's Apartment" (1996). He was also the Director of Animation for the computer generated characters in "A Simple Wish" (1997) and "Fight Club" (1999).
In addition to feature projects, Saldanha has directed and animated a number of television commercials. "Big Deal," a spot for Bell Atlantic, won numerous awards, including a 1997 Bronze Clio. In 1999, he won a Gold Clio for the animation on "Re-Incarnated," a Tennents Beer commercial for its 1998 Soccer World Cup campaign in Europe.
Saldanha earned an M. F. A. degree in animation from the School of Visual Arts in New York, where he discovered his passion for animation. He continues to keep in contact with that school's future artists, teaching and advising students in the animation program.
BRIAN P. McENTEE (Production Designer), having spent most of his youth in Sunnyvale, California, is as much a product of Silicon Valley as the home computer - and has infiltrated almost as many homes by contributing to, as he puts it, "VCR baby-sitter syndrome" with his Art Direction credits on such films as "The Brave Little Toaster," (1987 BLT Ventures) "Beauty and The Beast," (1991 Disney) and "Cats Don't Dance" (1997 Turner Feature Animation).
He came to Blue Sky Studios in 1999 as production designer for ICE AGE. A specialist in color design, McEntee believes color is a visual language and helps to tell the story as much as the writing and acting. By communicating through shape and color, the look of his version of this pre-historic era goes far beyond the shades of ice and snow, utilizing a rich full palette.
An alumnus of California Institute of the Arts, McEntee started his career at Disney training under Eric Larsen, one of the "Nine Old Men. " While working on such films as "The Fox and The Hound," "Mickey's Christmas Carol," and "The Great Mouse Detective," McEntee spent time in a variety of different departments, which enabled him to learn almost every aspect of animated feature filmmaking, from story development, visual development, and pre-production to layout, character animation, effects animation, and clean-up.
McEntee then joined Hyperion Pictures, where he received his first art direction credit for the critically acclaimed "Brave Little Toaster," now an adopted Disney classic. Created in 1987, the film's credits read like a 'who's who' in animation. The tremendous level of talent that was gathered to work on the film made the impossible possible, and the entire film was developed and finished in only one year.
McEntee returned to Disney in 1989 to develop and art direct "Beauty and The Beast," the only animated film to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. In 1993, McEntee joined Turner Feature Animation to work on "Cat's Don't Dance," winner of the 1997 ASIFA Annie award for Best Picture. He then returned to Disney briefly help to develop a new animated feature before leaving the studio and the West Coast to work with Twentieth Century Fox.
McEntee gives class lectures on story and visual development, the use of color in storytelling, and art direction.
JOHN CARNOCHAN (Supervising Editor) has left his mark on a series of critically acclaimed films, documentaries and shorts. Most recently he has focused his efforts on animated features, amassing an impressive list of credits that includes hits such as "Chicken Run," (2000 DreamWorks/Aardman Animation) "The Road to El Dorado" (DreamWorks SKG) "The Prince of Egypt" (1998 Dreamworks SKG) "The Lion King" (1994 Walt Disney Pictures) "Beauty and The Beast" (1991 Walt Disney Pictures) and "The Little Mermaid" (1989 Walt Disney Pictures).
Carnochan began his career in 1971 in architecture, where 3-D conceptualization was just catching on. The new tool intrigued him, and he began dabbling in computer animation. Since the options in 3-D animation at the time were limited, Carnochan found an outlet for his creativity in the storytelling process that editing affords. He started out working mostly with live action on such projects as "Baja Oklahoma" for HBO, "Elysian Fields," "The Man Who Fell To Earth," the PBS series "Hard Choices," and features such as "Heartbreakers," Circle of Power" and "The Stunt Man. "
His first foray into feature animation was cutting "The Little Mermaid" for Disney in 1989, which was one of the last traditional cel animated features. The opportunity to work on "Mermaid" and the many films that followed gave Carnochan a chance to combine his early interest in animation with his love of storytelling, and he began developing a specialty in the genre. Feature animation gave Carnochan even more creative input into the story. With live action, the footage is already shot and envisioned, but in animation the process starts with recording the voice, shaping those performances, and editing the storyboards to lay down the story's foundation through pace and timing.
The pictures Carnochan has worked on have won numerous awards and critical accolades including "Beauty and the Beast" which was the first animated feature nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
DAVID NEWMAN's (Music) memorable and diverse scores have been featured in such films as "Dr. Dolittle 2," "The Affair of the Necklace," "Bedazzled," "102 Dalmations," "Duets," "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps," "Bowfinger," "Never Been Kissed," "Anastasia" (1997), "Out to Sea," "Matilda," "The Nutty Professor" (1996), "The Phantom," "Hoffa," "I Love Trouble," "The Cowboy Way," "Honeymoon in Vegas," "The War of the Roses," "Throw Momma From the Train," "Heathers," "The Flintstones," "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" and "Jingle All the Way. " Newman also did the music for the upcoming "Death to Smoochy," starring Robin Williams, Edward Norton, Danny DeVito (who also directs) and Jon Stewart.
A member of the famous Newman family of composers that includes Randy, Lionel and Alfred, David is an accomplished classical composer who has performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the American Symphony Orchestra, London's Royal Philharmonic and the New Japan Philharmonic.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Newman has a Master's Degree in conducting from the University of Southern California. He also served as music director at Robert Redford's Sundance Institute where he was principal conductor of it's a Night of Great Movie Music concerts and the Sundance Film Music Series of recordings.
©2001 Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved.