Has Production on Astroboy Shut Down?

Steve Hulett is the Business Rep. and Kevin Koch the president of The Animation Guild (TAG), Local 839 IATSE.  They also keep a very interesting blog about the ups, downs, ins and outs of living and working as a professional animator.

Sadly, they’re now reporting that production on Imagi’s Astroboy movie appears to have shut down.  This comes just days after I last reported on the film, on how it appears to have just scraped through it’s troubles with the recession.  They have no official word on the matter, just information from those that have been working on the film.

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New AstroBoy Concept Art

AstroBoy Concept Art

Our friends at FirstShowing.net got the chance to interview AstroBoy director Colin Brady, and were given an exclusive look at concept art from the upcoming computer animated film (as seen above, check FS.net for more). Brady reveals that the film will be an origin story using “a mix of popular American and Japanese actors”, and that Imagi is shooting for “as hard PG as we can.”

Hard PG? Never heard that before. Brady claims that the robot violence lets them get away with more than “humans fighting each other with guns.” Brady seems to be saying all the right things to get me excited about the project:

“We’re trying to create a texture and beauty similar to the original Star Wars films. We’re extremely influenced by Hokusai, Noguchi, and Miyazaki.”

Read the full interview over at FirstShowing.net.

First Look: AstroBoy

AstroBoy

Imagi Animation Studios, the guys responsible for the recent computer animated TMNT film, are making a big screen computer animated adaptation of AstroBoy and Gatchaman. I know, I know – this is not anything new, but today the folks at Imagi have released a cool high resolution still from the upcoming AstroBoy movie. Our friends at FirstShowing got their hands on the still, seen above.

It originated as a manga in 1951 by Japanese manga artist Osamu Tezuka, who is often reputed as the “god of manga” The manga spawned an anime television show which was first broadcast in Japan from 1963 to 1966. After enjoying success abroad, Astro Boy was remade in the 1980s as Shin Tetsuwan Atomu, known as Astroboy in the United States and other Western countries, and again in 2003. For a time, Astro Boy enjoyed a level of popularity in Japan equivalent to Disney’s image character Mickey Mouse.

Set in a futuristic world where androids co-exist with humans, AstroBoy follows the adventures of the nominal “Astro Boy”, a powerful robot boy created by a brilliant scientist to replace his son Tobio, who died in a car accident.

AstroBoy animation acting director Jakob Jensen told Hollywood Reporter that Imagi is being faithful to Tezuka’s original story arc, at the same time bringing out elements needed for those unfamiliar with the story.

“‘Astro Boy’ utilizes very classical story principles of the hero’s journey that we see in all good storytelling around the world,” Jensen said. “Astro Boy has the moral underpinning and strong emotional resonance that a lot of animation today is lacking.”

Astro Boy is set for release in 2009. You can also check out the previously released poster (which we for some reason never before posted) after the jump.

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