An impressive voice cast has boarded the animated family comedy Blazing Samurai
with Samuel L. Jackson
way for the film that will be directed by Chris Bailey (Alvin And The Chipmunks
) and Mark Koetsier (Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon
). The film is about a scrappy dreamer of a dog named Hank (voiced by Michael Cera) 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.
The project is equally inspired by and an homage to Mel Brooks
’ classic comedy Blazing Saddles
. In fact, Brooks is one of those in the voice cast (he’ll play the misguided but benevolent leader, Shogun). Others joining include George Takei
, Gabriel Iglesias
, Aasif Mandvi, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Sandra Tsing Loh, Mel B., and “Heavenly” Joy Jerkins.
The project was written by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper and will be produced by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King, Stuart Little) along with Yair Landau who is the president and founder of Mass Animation. Additional producers are Susan Purccell (Mother Up!). Brooks will also exec produce as will Reginald Hudlin and Pietro Ventani.
The family film is coming to the screen, courtesy of Mass Animation, Huayi Brothers
Media Corporation, Flying Tigers Entertainment, and GFM Films which is handling international sales. It plans to host a sneak peak of early footage at AFM on November 4
Blazing Samurai will be released by Open Road Films in the United States on August 4, 2017. Sony Pictures International Releasing has already picked up several major territories worldwide, and Huayi Brothers Media Corporation is distributing the film in Greater China.
Jackson will portray Jimbo, a cat who once was a great warrior who now lives life hitting the cat-nip a bit too hard. Despite his addled state, he reluctantly takes lovable mutt Hank under his wing and teaches him the cunning, courageous and warrior-like ways of the samurai. Forging an unusual friendship between a cat and a dog, the two set off on a wild and hilarious journey to save the town of Kakamucho whilst at the same time learning what it means to be a true, great samurai.
Takei will lend his inimitable baritone voice to Ohga, the villain’s enforcer. Hounsou (Guardians Of The Galaxy, How To Train Your Dragon) voices gentle giant Sumo. Mandvi (Spider-Man 2) and Iglesias (The Nut Job) will star as Ichiro and Chuck, Kakamucho’s Laurel and Hardy towncats, with Loh as Little Mama, Kakamucho’s cranky grande dame.
The 5-year-old America’s Got Talent sensation, “Heavenly” Joy Jerkins, is Emiko the feisty, feline kitten who is a natural warrior, with Yeoh voicing Yuki, Emiko’s over-protective mom. And Mel B (Spice Girls) serves up a great cameo as The Giraffe, who sees herself as a cat.
Early development and pre-production funding was provided by GFM Films with Mass Animation through Blazing Productions Ltd, a UK-based production company with equity funding through White & Co., and Ober Wealth Management.
Arc Productions (Gnomeo & Juliet, 9), which is a leading CG animation and visual effects studio is the lead animation house on the film.