EXCLUSIVE: Legendary has set an all-star cast for their forthcoming film Animal Friends, combining live-action and animated characters from writing duo Kevin Burrows and Matt Mider, with Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool 3), Jason Momoa (Fast X), Vince Vaughn (Bad Monkey) and Aubrey Plaza (Megalopolis) coming aboard for roles.
Plot details for the project, described as an R-rated road trip adventure, are being kept under wraps. Emmy-winning director Peter Atencio (The Machine) is at the helm.
The idea for the film came from a general meeting between Burrows & Mider and Patrick Gooing, an executive at Reynolds’ production company, Maximum Effort. Producing alongside Legendary are Maximum Effort and Namit Malhotra’s Prime Focus Studios. Visual effects and animation will be provided by leading visual entertainment services company, DNEG.
Most recently starring opposite Will Ferrell in Apple’s popular holiday musical comedy Spirited, Reynolds prior to that starred in The Adam Project and Red Notice — two of the most-watched titles in Netflix history — as well as the Shawn Levy-helmed hit, Free Guy. The Critics Choice Award winner is returning as the Merc with a Mouth for Deadpool 3, which is shooting this summer, and is also set for the Paramount comedy Boy Band, among many other projects.
Momoa recently led Apple’s sci-fi drama series See, created by Steven Knight, which ran for three seasons, also appearing recent years in films like Slumberland, Dune, Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Aquaman. He returns as the latter DC superhero in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which hits theaters on December 20, and plays a new Fast & Furious franchise villain in Fast X, which is slated for release by Uni on May 19. Other upcoming projects for the actor include the Apple series Chief of War, Warner Bros’ Minecraft movie and action comedy Killer Vacation also starring John Cena, Uni’s action comedy Shots! Shots! Shots! and more.
Best known for roles in such hit films as Freaky, Hacksaw Ridge, The Internship (which he produced and co-wrote), The Break-Up (which he produced, and for which he wrote the story), Wedding Crashers, Dodgeball, Old School and Swingers, Vaughn recently wrapped production on Bad Monkey, an Apple TV+ drama series from Ted Lasso co-creator Bill Lawrence. He’ll next star alongside Al Pacino, Michelle Monaghan and Simon Rex in the indie drama Easy’s Waltz from True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto.
Plaza is coming off one of the strongest years of her career, having generated major heat with her starring turn alongside Will Sharpe, Meghann Fahy and Theo James in the second season of Mike White’s HBO smash The White Lotus, for which she was recognized with a Golden Globe nomination. The SAG Award winner also recently notched Independent Spirit and Gotham Award noms for her lead turn in John Patton Ford’s acclaimed indie crime thriller, Emily the Criminal, which she produced under her Evil Hag Productions banner. She recently wrapped production on Francis Ford Coppola’s sci-fi epic Megalopolis and is currently shooting a role in Disney+’s Marvel series Agatha: Coven of Chaos.
Best known for directing Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key in the 2016 action comedy Keanu, after winning an Emmy for directing and producing the duo’s hit sketch show Key and Peele, Atencio most recently directed and produced the Legendary action comedy The Machine, led by comedian Bert Kreischer, which is slated for release by Screen Gems on May 26. Other notable credits include the Amazon/Scott Free miniseries Jean-Claude Van Johnson, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, which he directed and exec produced.
Frequent collaborators Burrows and Mider most recently had their heist comedy spec The Pick Up set up at Amazon, with Eddie Murphy eyeing to star and Tim Story attached to direct. They previously teamed to write the Netflix thriller-comedy The Package and Conde Naste’s animated series Gentlemen Lobsters, which they also directed, starred in and exec produced. Burrows also separately worked on the Oscar-nominated DreamWorks pic The Croods. Other upcoming titles penned by the duo include Uni’s Shots! Shots! Shots! and the stoner comedy Stoned Alone.
Atencio is represented by UTA and Artists First; Burrows by WME and Silver Lake Entertainment; Mider by WME, Silver Lake Entertainment and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller; Reynolds by WME and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern; Momoa by WME and Edelstein, Laird & Sobel; Vaughn by WME, Range Media Partners and Jackoway Austen Tyerman; and Plaza by CAA, Mgmt Entertainment and Schreck Rose Dapello.
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