DreamWorks Cast, Crew Hit the Stage

The Film Society of Lincoln Center presented a special program titled "Animation Now: Imagination Innovation Inspiration" on Sunday, welcoming many of the people behind past and upcoming DreamWorks animated productions. Jerry Seinfeld, who is now in production on Bee Movie, greeted the audience, along with Madagascar’s Chris Rock and Shrek 3 cast members Mike Myers and Justin Timberlake.

Sponsored by HP and hosted by Today weatherman Al Roker, the event also saw DreamWorks producers, directors, writers and other craftspeople take the stage at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center to provide behind-the-scenes peeks at the creation of their animated features.

Joining Rock from Madagascar were producer Mireille Soria, director/writers Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath and Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer. The gang gave attendees a preview of scenes from the CG comedy about a group of pampered zoo animals who have to learn to survive on an island off the coast of Africa. The film opens on May 27.

Oscar-winning animated filmmaker Nick Park was on hand to show some scenes from the first feature outing for cheese-loving Englishman Wallace and his brilliant dog, Gromit. Acclaimed British animation house Aardman teamed up with DreamWorks to bring the beloved clay-animated duo to the big screen on Oct. 7, 2005. In addition to showing clips from the film, the director offered some insight into the stop-motion animation process.

Also present from Aardman was co-founder David Sproxton, who joined Sam Fell, one of the directors of the upcoming Aardman/DreamWorks co-production, Flushed Away. Aardman previously brought its distinct style of clay animation to the big screen with DreamWorks’ 2000 hit, Chicken Run, but Flushed Away will mark Aardman’s first foray into feature-length computer animation. The comedy tells the story of a pampered British rat who accidentally gets flushed from his posh penthouse flat and into the sewer, where he learns how the other half lives. The pic is set for release on Nov. 3, 2006.

Mike Myers, the voice of Shrek, helped present some early work being done on Shrek 3, which is scheduled to hit theaters on May 18, 2007. Pop star JustinTimberlake’s likeness appeared for a brief gag in Shrek 2, but now the budding thespian is set to join the cast of the next movie, lending his voice to the character Artie, King Harold’s rebellious nephew. The stars were joined on stage by Oscar-winning Shrek franchise producer Aron Warner, and Shrek and Shrek 2 writer/director Andrew Adamson.

Presentations were also given by Tim Johnson, one of the directors of Over The Hedge (May 19, 2006), and writer/producer/star Seinfeld, who introduced his Bee Movie (Nov.2, 2007) with the help of Steve Hickner, one of the film’s directors.