According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Walt Disney Company has tapped screenwriter Elizabeth Hunter to script a new animated film titled Lafiya. Details about the film are still heavily under wraps, but it will reportedly center on a young girl and her adventures in Africa.
The news comes as DreamWorks unveils character designs for its upcoming CG African comedy/adventure Madagascar (2005). That film will feature the voices of Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock and David Schwimmer in a story about zoo-raised New York City animals set free in the African wilderness.
If Lafiya goes through, it will no doubt stoke the flames of criticism over the two studios’ propensity to release projects with similar themes and/or settings, i.e. Antz/A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo/Sharkslayer, Treasure Planet/Sinbad.
Disney is currently putting the finishing touches on the 2D features Brother Bear (slated for release Nov. 7) and Home On The Range (2004). Chicken Little is also said to be in the early stages of development.