Melwood Pictures and Exodus Film Group hope to have animation fans salivating with Pavlov’s Dog, a CG-animated/live action feature film they optioned from world-famous illusionist Nicholas Night. Night previously garnered attention in the animation world when his property, The Hair-Raising Adventures of Aaron and Ned, won first place in Animation Magazine’s first annual Pitch Party.
Described as "one flea’s struggle to rid himself of pests," Pavlov’s Dog is the story of an uptight flea who moves to the big city to claim his inheritance, a prime piece of real estate on a dog. When he arrives, Pavlov finds himself waging a suburban war against the rambunctious and untidy misfits who plague his neighborhood.
The script was written by Night and former Seinfeld scribe Pat Hazell. Tapped to direct is veteran Disney animator Leon Joosen, who most recently served as animation director on Warner Bros.’ two Scooby-Doo films at Rhythm and Hues. Joosen has also been involved in storyboard and design for DreamWorks and developed projects with director Ivan Reitman.
"Pavlov’s Dog is one of the most innovative ideas for utilizing live-action and animation that has come around in years," says Joosen. "On the surface, this is a great comedy, but at its core, is a universal story of struggle to blend into a world that doesn’t quite fit–a theme that rings true because it mirrors our own."
Night is best known for his artist-themed illusion show, which has been presented in more than 30 countries over the past 15 years and featured on ABC-TV’s Champions of Magic. Regarding Pavlov’s Dog, he comments, "This film is very special to me and I am thrilled to be working with Exodus and Melwood. [Melwood’s Max Howard] has been instrumental in my transition from a life in illusion to, as legendary Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston put it, ‘The Illusion of Life.’"
Exodus, led by president/CEO John D. Eraklis, is currently working with Melwood to produce the CG-animated feature, Igor, starring the voice of Christian Slater. Melwood’s Howard has been involved in such animated hits as Disney’s The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; Warner Bros.’ Space Jam and The Iron Giant; and DreamWorks’ Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron.
In addition to Igor, Exodus is in pre-production on the live-action feature film Bunyan and Babe, which is being directed by renowned visual effects director and three-time Academy Award winner Jim Rygiel (The Lord of the Rings trilogy).