EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Renner and Don Handfield are producing the first animated film through their banner the Combine, along with Straight Up Films and Cinesite. I.F. (Imaginary Friend) is inspired by the song “Imaginary Friend” by two-time Grammy-nominated kid-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo from his album Perfect Quirk. Development and pre-production will begin this year with some stellar talent aboard.
First off, the Combine produced John Lee Hancock’s Michael Keaton-starrer The Founder which hits theaters nationwide January 20. Dave Rosenbaum, Cinesite’s chief creative officer and head of Cinesite’s new Montreal animation studios, will oversee development and production; he was one of the original employees of Illumination Entertainment and was involved in the hits Despicable Me, Minions and Golden Globe-nominated Sing. Shane Morris, who got a “story by” credit for Frozen, is writing the script; he is credited with helping develop the song into a story that landed the financing for the picture.
Marisa Polvino and Kate Cohen will finance and produce through their Straight Up Films banner along with Nick Sarkisov. Kelly Woyan and Philip G. Flores will also produce for Combine.
“As parents, we have always wanted to make an animated film that our kids could watch and find relatable,” said Renner and Handfield in a statement. “We are excited to embark on this journey with Straight Up Films and the incredible creative team of Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and writer Shane Morris. We also couldn’t have asked for a better partner in Dave Rosenbaum and the team at Cinesite.”
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s latest album Infinity Plus One is nominated for a Grammy for Best Children’s Album. Morris is repped by Zero Gravity Management.