Well, that was unexpected. Today, Lucasfilm announced that it will be bringing us an animated film titled Strange Magic in just three short months. Touchstone Pictures will be releasing the project, inspired by William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” into theaters on January 23rd, 2015.
Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Alfred Molina, Peter Stormare and Elijah Kelley all lend their voices to the film, playing magical creatures such as goblins, elves, fairies and imps who come to blows over a magic potion. Musical interludes help to tell the story, with Strange Magic incorporating “popular songs from the past six decades.”
Gary Rydstrom, a seven-time Oscar winner for his work as a sound designer on films as diverse as Saving Private Ryan, Titanic and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, will direct from an original idea by George Lucas. Rydstrom’s experience isn’t limited to sound work – he also helmed Oscar-nominated, animated short film Lifted and Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation.
Lucasfilm publicist Chris Argyropoulos first broke the news over social media, tweeting the above image:
“Strange Magic,” a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., will be released by Touchstone Pictures on January 23 2015 pic.twitter.com/wpLNxqkiHk
— Chris Argyropoulos (@ThatChrisA) November 11, 2014
An official press release soon followed:
“Strange Magic,” a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., will be released by Touchstone Pictures on January 23, 2015. “Strange Magic” is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic, which created the CGI animation for 2011’s Academy Award®-winning film “Rango,” bring to life the fanciful forest turned upside down with world-class animation and visual effects.
With a story by George Lucas, “Strange Magic” is directed by Gary Rydstrom (“Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation,” “Lifted”), produced by Mark S. Miller (associate producer “Mars Attacks!”) and executive produced by George Lucas, with a screenplay by David Berenbaum (“Elf”), Irene Mecchi (“Brave,” “The Lion King”) and Rydstrom. An extraordinary roster of film, television and Broadway stars lend their voices to “Strange Magic,” including Alan Cumming (CBS’ “The Good Wife,” Broadway’s “Cabaret”), Evan Rachel Wood (“The Ides of March”), Kristin Chenoweth (Broadway’s “Wicked”), Maya Rudolph (“Big Hero 6,” “Bridesmaids”), Sam Palladio (ABC’s “Nashville”), newcomer Meredith Anne Bull, Alfred Molina (“Chocolat”), Elijah Kelley (“Hairspray,” “The Butler”), Bob Einstein (HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Peter Stormare (“Fargo”). Well-known music producer Marius de Vries (“Moulin Rouge”) serves as both the musical director and composer.
It’s early days, but feel free to sound off with your early impressions of Strange Magic below!