CGI 'Gecko' in Vanguard menagerie23 Apr, 2002 By: Sheigh Crabtree
Shrek producer John H. Williams' Vanguard Animation, a division of Vanguard Films, has optioned author Bruce Hale's Chet Gecko children's mystery book series in a deal worth mid- to high-six figures against the purchase price. Williams intends to develop the series into a CGI feature franchise and is in negotiations with two studios for distribution.
" Chet Gecko is a great parody of the gumshoe detective genre," Williams said. "(Hale) excels at transporting classic film noir scenarios into new comedy contexts."
An initial script based on an amalgamation of a few story lines from the series has been adapted for the screen by Jordan Katz (Incognito). An initial script based on an amalgamation of a few story lines from the series has been adapted for the screen by Jordan Katz (Incognito) and will be titled either The Hamster of Baskerville" or "Danger Is My Beeswax.
The Chet Gecko feature will be the lead project Williams produces from a $100 million CG animation fund through investment bank Jeffries & Co.
Williams has five animated features in development at Vanguard, including Schnozz, Valiant, and Ham and the Hyper Tunnel.
Vanguard Animation is in the process of setting up a CG studio with former CG artists from such companies as WETA digital and Menace Visual Effects.
Vanguard Films was one of the production companies behind Seven Years in Tibet and is currently in postproduction on DreamWorks' The Tuxedo. Vanguard Animation is developing Pet Boy at Nickelodeon/Paramount and the animated TV series “Young McDonald” at Disney.