Date: 15th June 2001
British film legend SIR MICHAEL CAINE has pulled out of the next animated movie by the makers of CHICKEN RUN (2000).
CIDER HOUSE RULES, the (1999) star was set to provide the voice of MAURICE the tortoise in AARDMAN ANIMATION's eagerly awaited, TORTOISE VERSUS HARE (2002). But the 68-year-old actor's busy work schedule has forced him to withdraw from the updated version of AESOP's famous fable, THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE.
The movie, made in conjunction with STEVEN SPIELBERG's DREAMWORKS company, was sent back to the drawing board after a string of script rewrites.
The ALFIE (1966) star had already spent time in the studio recording lines for the movie. But he was unable to find time in his hectic movie schedule to re-record vital scenes for the flick. Aardman, who've won Oscars with their Wallace and Gromit animations, has found a replacement, but at present are keeping him under wraps.
ARTHUR SHERIFF, Aardman spokesman, says, "We had to go back to the drawing board and rethink the whole film. At the moment we are working with the seventh draft of the script and I reckon it will take another three yet. The problem with our sort of work is that we have to get the actors back every couple of months to do the voices. Sadly, Michael's schedule wouldn't allow that."
"Casting animated movies is much harder than a live action film." Aardman has already re-cast the role, and once contract arrangements are agreed, will unveil the voice of the lethargic reptile.
Oscar-nominated actress BRENDA BLETHYN is confirmed to voice one creature, with comic PAUL WHITEHOUSE pencilled in to play the Hare.
BOB HOSKINS has been confirmed as the voice of the tortoise's fitness trainer Taffy the Welsh hamster. However, despite losing their major star, Aardman are confident that the film will still thrill fans. Arthur Sheriff says, "We're just fine-honing really. Tortoise Vs Hare will be a great movie with even more madcap action than Chicken Run. " (NB/WN/KMW)