DreamWorks, Aardman Get Cracking on Wallace & Gromit

As fans of Aardman Animation’s most famous plasticine duo eagerly await their big-screen debut, the animation studio announces that it is set to roll on the feature Wallace & Gromit the Movie, according to Variety. And while Aardman has recently diversified into computer animation, sources at DreamWorks assure us that the film will employ the same style of clay animation that won the Wallace & Gromit shorts a cult following and a couple Oscars.

The creator and director of those shorts, Nick Park, who also co-directed the DreamWorks/Aardman hit Chicken Run, will helm the feature-length Wallace & Gromit adventure along with Steve Box. The film will reportedly go before the lens next month and is slated for a 2005 release. No details about the storyline have been released at this time.

To keep fans pacified, Park and Aardman recently teamed up with online short film distributor AtomFilms to release a series of minute-long Wallace & Gromit misadventures titled Cracking Contraptions. Each of the ten webisodes feature one of Wallace’s clever but ultimately ill-conceived inventions and the consequences they bring to the cheese-loving Edison wannabe and his long-suffering canine companion.

The first three Wallace & Gromit shorts, A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave have been compiled in a home video release titled The Incredible Adventures of Wallace & Gromit, available on DVD for $19.98 and VHS for $14.98. The films are also available individually or as a VHS gift set that retails for $15.95.

Park’s co-director on Chicken Run, Peter Lord, is developing the next feature collaboration between Aardman and DreamWorks. Flushed Away will tell the story of a highrise-dwelling fat rat who leaves the posh life when he accidentally gets flushed down the toilet and into the sewer where he makes new friends and learns how the other half lives.