While he’s (possibly) hard at work prepping for his return hosting gig at the Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais will give his vocal cords a different kind of workout. The Brit has joined the big-name voice cast of Blazing Samurai, a family comedy toon inspired by Mel Brooks’ 1974 uber-classic Blazing Saddles. The pic centers on Hank (voiced by Michael Cera), a scrappy dreamer of a dog who longs to become a great warrior and fights to save the town of Kakamucho from becoming the litter box of a nefarious feline warlord, transforming society and himself on his quest to become a true samurai.
Gervais will play said warlord, the villainous Ika Chu, a sneaky bad cat with a grand plan to rid Kakamucho of its feline inhabitants. Decked out in fashionable “Fursace,” Ika Chu has an insatiable appetite for power. The cast also features Brooks, Samuel L. Jackson, George Takei, Gabriel Iglesias, Aasif Mandvi, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Sandra Tsing Loh, Mel B. and “Heavenly” Joy Jerkins of America’s Got Talent fame.
Chris Bailey and Mark Koetsier are directing Blazing Samurai, from a script by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper. The pic hails from Mass Animation, Huayi Brothers, Flying Tigers Entertainment and GFM Films, which is handling international sales at AFM. Executive producers include Brooks, Reginald Hudlin and Pietro Ventani. Open Road Films will open Blazing Samurai in the U.S. on August 4, 2017.
Gervais is a two-time Emmy winner who stars in the Netflix comedy Derek, created the original UK series The Office and was an exec producer on the long-running U.S. version. Other credits include Extras, Life’s Too Short and The Ricky Gervais Show and the upcoming features Special Correspondents and Life on the Road. Also a stand-up comic, he has hosted the Golden Globe Awards three times and is set to reprise that role at the 73rd annual trophy show on January 10.