Shane Acker's post-apocalyptic rag-dolls-vs-robots epic 9 is already blowing our minds. So when we met him, we asked what's next, and he described two possible projects: one live-action, one animated. They're known franchises, but he wouldn't identify them. Can you?
Here's our conversation:
So what's next after 9? Are you sticking to animation?
I'm actually developing two things right now. One's live action, and one is animation... They're both world-making. They create different worlds, fantastic worlds. They have their own mythology, that runs in their own way. Which is what I love to do. So even if I do live-action films, I don't think it's going to be too far from my own inspiration, just like Tim Burton's live-action films are very pushed and stylized, and create unique worlds. I think that's my direction as well.
We can't wait to see whatever you come up with.
Let's hope they give me some money to do it.
So these films are science fiction?
They're both kind of fantasy with a little science fiction in them as well.
So will these two new projects have human characters in them?
The live-action one will have people. It's sort of an ancient. It's mythology. It's sort of an ancient tale. It's slightly pre-history, although it's early civilization type of pre-history, but rooted in an existing comic book franchise — and an actual literature franchise. But I can't really say yet [what it is]. And then the other animated film is also based on a comic book franchise.
So people are coming to you now and asking if you can take on their franchises?
Yeah, or it's properties that I find, that I'm really drawn to, attracted to. And I'll approach them and say, "Hey, I'm interested in developing this into a feature." The animated one is sort of like a blending of Dark Crystal meets Lord Of The Rings meets Secret Of Nimh, with a little touch of ancient Viking mythology and Old Testament. It's an Eden tale in some ways. It's the creatures of the forest, but in some way they represent humanity. If that makes any sense. It's fun, I have a lot of fun with it.
Wow, both of those sound great.
We'll see what happens. The climate in Hollywood is strange because of the economic downturn. Hopefully 9 does well, and it will open up the opportunities to make other films. Because if it does well, hopefully it'll let me do other, riskier properties, things that don't seem like easy sells in Hollywood. They might have a little more trust and faith that these things can find an audience, and that would be great — both for me and for other film-makers who are trying to do something different.
So I'm scratching my head, and I can't figure out what franchises he's referring to. The animated one could be Mouse Guard, actually. What do you think? We'll have the rest of our interview with Acker later this week. 9 hits theaters, not surprisingly, on 9/9/09.