Universal Pictures today announced the star-studded voice cast for its upcoming animated feature, The Tale of Despereaux. Based on Kate DiCamillo’s Newberry Medal-winning children’s book, The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread, the film will feature the voices of Dustin Hoffman, Justin Long, William H. Macy, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin Kline, Christopher Lloyd, Stanley Tucci, Tracey Ullman, Sigourney Weaver and Ciaran Hinds. Animation will be handled by Framestore CFC.
Justin Long, who recently starred in the college comedy Accepted and appeared in Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, will be the voice of Despereaux, a brave and virtuous mouse who will prove an unlikely hero in his quest to vanquish the evil rats and shed light on the kingdom. Despereaux is befriended by Roscuro (Hoffman), a good-hearted rat who yearns to escape from the dark world ruled by Botticelli, the sewer rat leader voiced by Hinds (Miami Vice).
William H. Macy (Doogal) returns to the animated world as Despereaux’s timid father, Lester, who wants his youngest child is to be a proper, cowardly mouse. Despereaux is better understood by Hovis, a blind mouse voiced by Lloyd. Meanwhile, Coltrane, best known by kids as Hagrid from the Harry Potter movies, will voice the he palace jailer, Gregory, and Kline (The Pink Panther) will be the king’s royal cook, Andre, who is aided by a seven-foot genie named Boldo (Tucci). Fresh from her work on Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, Ullman will give voice to Mig, a slow-witted serving girl who dreams of being a princess. Weaver will serve as the film’s narrator.
The Tale of Despereaux is being directed by Oscar nominee director Mike Johnson, who co-directed Corpse Bride with Tim Burton. The film is being produced by four-time Academy Award nominee Gary Ross (Big, Dave, Seabiscuit) and Allison Thomas (Seabiscuit) under their Larger Than Life Prods. banner.
“We are thrilled to be making our first animated feature for Universal, which has energetically renewed its commitment to animation,” says Thomas. “We have assembled a spectacular voice cast that will bring to life the unforgettable characters and help convey the excitement, adventure and fun of this perfect gem of a book.”
DiCamillo, who previously met success with her kids’ book, Because of Winn Dixie, released Despereaux book 2003. The title spent 96 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, selling more than 1.6 million copies to date. The movie is scheduled to arrive in theaters during the 2008 holiday season.