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Aardman rolls 'Wallace and Gromit'. (London Eye).

No one ever said making movies out of clay was quick. Aardman Animations, the Bristol-based toon outfit responsible for the 2000 hit "Chicken Run," is finally ready to shoot the first feature under the four-pic deal it signed with DreamWorks way back in 1999.

"Chicken Run" co-director Nick Park will begin production on his long-awaited clay-animation "Wallace and Gromit" movie in September. Pic, which Park will direct with Steve Box, will reveal the latest misadventures of the cheese-loving inventor and his dog, who have already starred in several shorts including Oscar winners "The Wrong Trousers" and "A Close Shave."

The film is slated for a summer 2005 release, making it no slower to reach the bigscreen than "Chicken Run," which took 4 1/2 years from soup to nuts.

Jeffrey Katzenberg originally estimated Aardman would need 12 years to develop and produce its four movies, so the partnership is not really behind schedule. They got off to a false start with the aborted production of "The Tortoise and the Hare," which shot for a few months in 2001 before script problems pushed it back into development, where it remains.

Meanwhile, Peter Lord, the other co-director of "Chicken Run," is developing "Flushed Away," about two rats whose lives take a turn for the better when they are washed down a sewer and up into a penthouse. The plan is to start shooting early in 2005, once the "Wallace and Gromit" movie is finished.

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Title Annotation:clay-animation movie; Aardman Animations
Author:Dawtrey, Adam
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 4, 2003
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