EXCLUSIVE: Reel FX Animation Studios, the company behind The Book Of Life, has made a long term deal with that film’s writer/director Jorge R. Gutierrez. The first animated picture under the new deal will be an untitled Kung Fu Space Western. Gutierrez will direct from a script he’s writing with Douglas Langdale. Reel FX’s Brad Booker will produce with Gutierrez and Chatrone LLC. Sandra Equihua has been set to oversee the character design. Gutierrez has moved to Dallas to work on the project out of Reel FX’s studio.
The Untitled Kung Fu Space Western centers on one of the galaxy’s most charming outlaws, the leader of a funny, ragtag crew of rebel bandits that are put on a collision course with a legendary villain to determine the fate of the galaxy. Said Gutierrez: “Our heartfelt film will be a funny mash-up of some of my favorite influences: ‘90s Kung Fu films, Spaghetti Westerns of the ‘60s, and the epic Space Adventures of the ‘70s, ‘80s and today.” An early illustration of the concept tops this article.
The Book Of Life, which was produced by Guillermo del Toro, got a Golden Globe nomination. Fox released domestically last fall.
Gutierrez’s animated genre mash-up adds to a Reel FX slate that includes a Matt Lieberman-scripted adaptation of the Rob Harrell book Monster On The Hill; Giant Girl, a pitch by Reel FX story leads Bob Logan and Paul Fisher; and WISH Police, based on a short story by Daniel Nayeri. Latter is written by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, with Headless Productions attached to direct.
Reel FX CEO Steve O’Brien said the goal is to create “a home for creative filmmakers to bring their ideas to life. We are excited to partner with Jorge once again as we build on our success with The Book of Life.” After serving as a full stop animation studio for two decades, Reel FX began developing and producing its own slates, the first of which was the 2013 Free Birds, which was distributed by Relativity and grossed $110 million worldwide. The Book Of Life was its sophomore effort. That film grossed $94 million worldwide and is still playing overseas. The company also started the virtual reality division Reel FX VR.
WME reps Gutierrez.