Bowers Pilots Astro Boy

Imagi Studios, the animation company behind TMNT, has signed Flushed Away director David Bowers to helm its CG-animated Astro Boy feature. Based on the classic comics and anime series created by Japan’s ‘god of manga,’ Osamu Tezuka, Astro Boy will be released worldwide release in 2009 by Warner Bros. Pictures and The Weinstein Co. Bowers replaces the film’s previously announced director Colin Brady (Everyone’s Hero).

Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy will tell the tale of a powerful young robot that a brilliant scientist created in the image of the son he lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving man’s expectations, our metalic hero embarks on a journey in search of acceptance, experiencing betrayal and a netherworld of robot gladiators before returning to save Metro City and reconcile with the father.

‘I’ve had a lifelong affection for the original Astro Boy, so am looking forward to giving him the full action-adventure Hollywood treatment,’ Bowers comments. ‘His story is both emotional and spectacular, so it absolutely lends itself to the big screen. With the amazing crew that Imagi has assembled, I feel there’s an opportunity to create something very special’a film to surprise audiences, have them on the edge of their seats, and hopefully make them laugh, too.’

Bowers worked at famed British animation studio Cosgrove Hall before joining Steven Spielberg’s Amblimation in London to work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. When DreamWorks was founded, he relocated to Los Angeles where he worked primarily as a story artist on The Prince of Egypt and The Road to El Dorado. During this period, he met Nick Park and Peter Lord and struck up a long and fruitful relationship with U.K. animation house Aardman Animations. He helped to conceive of and storyboard many of the major set pieces is Chicken Run, and continued to move between Los Angeles and Bristol to lend his creative talents to various DreamWorks and Aardman projects, including Shark Tale and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, before making his directorial debut with Sam Fell on Flushed Away. Maryann Garger, a co-producer on that film, is producing Astro Boy.