Aardman Names New Head of Features

Stephen Moore has been appointed head of features/chief operating officer for Aardman Animations, the Bristol, U.K. studio behind the DreamWorks hits Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Moore previously oversaw theatrical and home entertainment operations as president of international for 20th Century Fox.

Co-founded by David Sproxton and Peter Lord, Aardman has a five-picture deal in place with DreamWorks Animation. The two entities are following the feature film debut of Nick Park’s clay-animated Wallace and Gromit with Flushed Away, a CG comedy-adventure about a spoiled high-rise rat (voiced by Hugh Jackman), who is plunged into the sewer to learn how the other half lives. That film is scheduled for release this summer.

‘Aardman is very pleased to have been able to appoint Stephen at this point in the studio’s history,’ Says Sproxton. ‘[His] vast experience will enable the studio to build considerably on its recent successes and increase its opportunities in many arenas.’

As head of features, Moore will oversee production on the fourth production in the Aardman/DreamWorks deal. At this time, that film is Crood Awakening, a Stone Age comedy from the mind of Monty Python player John Cleese. Co-writing the screenplay with Cleese is Kirk DeMicco, who previously wrote the family film Racing Stripes and the animated adventure Quest for Camelot.