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Tusker is a cancelled Dreamworks Animation film that was to be the studio's third computer animated feature, following Antz and Shrek.


Plot

Tusker would have followed a herd of elephants as they set out on a Great Escape-inspired impossible mission, making a trek across Southeast Asia while encountering poachers and other dangers. The protagonist would have been a young elephant whose journey of discovery, heroism and redemption intersected with and renewed the life of a reclusive old elephant who had always been an outsider[1].

Cast

  • Morgan Freeman as Tusker, the herd leader
  • Jodie Foster as Tarra, a young female elephant
  • Don Knotts as an unnamed elephant
  • Dana Carvey as an unknown character
  • Garry Shandling as an unknown character
  • Bruno Kirby as an unknown character

Development

Tusker was announced in December 1998, with Katzenberg describing the movie as an action-comedy: "It is very much an homage to the classic World War II films such as The Dirty Dozen or The Guns of Navarone, in which a band of screw-ups have to go on an impossible mission in order to save the rest of the herd.[2]" In March 1999, animators and the directors spent time at an elephant preserve in Nashville, TN, to study the physical mannerisms as well as the personalities of elephants. A year later, in May 2000, Jeffrey Katzenberg travelled to Asia for work related to this project. Jodie Foster and Morgan Freeman's involvement in Tusker was made official in late March 2000.

Cancellation

In Spring 2001, rumours flew that DreamWorks abandoned Tusker. This was denied by Katzenberg during an interview with USA Today in early June. Nevertheless, it was announced unofficially in late July 2001 that the movie, which was originally set for December 2002, has been postponed to 2003, after the release of Shrek 2. PDI gave the official word on this project to Animated Movies in February 2002: "Tusker is currently on-hold since the stories for both Shrek 2 and Madagascar are more developed and ready for production. Tusker's date is TBD." It was confirmed in March 2002 that Jodie Foster had begun work on the animated movie, which was at the time "still in its early stages" and had no release date scheduled.

Aborted Revival

In August 2008, it was reported that DreamWorks Animation's former co-head of production Cecil Kramer, who shepherded Tusker at the studio for six years, brought the project to Hong Kong and Los Angeles-based animation company Imagi Animation Studios. Brooke Breton was to produce this new version of the film from a screenplay by Ted Tally. An early 2011 release was scheduled that same month[1]. However, following the box office failure of Imagi's Astro Boy, Tusker was again cancelled February 5, 2010 as the animation studio shut down[3].

Gallery

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DreamWorks Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Tusker.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ball, Ryan. "Imagi Picks Up DreamWorks' Tusker", Animation Magazine, Jean Thorin, August 11, 2008. Retrieved on May 10, 2020. 
  2. Amidi, Amid. PDI and Dreamworks announce their third film, "Tusker". Animation World Network. Retrieved on May 10, 2020.
  3. Goldberg, Matt (February 9, 2010). Imagi Animation Studios Shut Down; Is the Adaptation of GATCHAMAN Dead?. Collider. Retrieved on May 10, 2020.
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