Animated Comedy, BLAZING SAMURAI, Heads To AFM With Cast And Crew In Tow

The American Film Market is kicking off on Tuesday this week and it's been a year since it was announed that Mass Animation would begin working on the brand new animated feature, Blazing Samurai. Open Road acquired the rights earlier this year and now things are moving foward with a fully-fledged cast and crew that looks absolutely fit for a film of its kind, and bodes well for a nod to a Mel Brooks classic. General audiences might be pleased at this one!
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Blazing Samurai, the highly-anticipated animated family comedy from Mass Animation, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, Flying Tigers Entertainment, and GFM Films has cast Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Cera and Mel Brooksalong with George Takei, Gabriel Iglesias, Aasif Mandvi, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Sandra Tsing Loh, Mel B., and introducing Heavenly Joy Jerkins.  The film is being produced by the acclaimed director of The Lion King and Stuart Little, Rob Minkoff, along with long-time animation industry executive and President and Founder of Mass Animation Yair Landau (Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs) and producer Susan Purcell (Mother Up!). Executive producers include Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein), Reginald Hudlin (Academy Award nominated producer of Django Unchained) and Pietro Ventani. Blazing Samurai is directed by Chris Bailey (Alvin And The Chipmunks) and Mark Koetsier (Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon) from a screenplay by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper. 
Blazing Samurai is an action-packed animated comedy 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 film is equally inspired by and an homage to Mel Brooks' timeless, hilarious classic Blazing Saddles. GFM Films is handling international sales and will be hosting a presentation about the production with a sneak peak at some very 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. 
Samuel L. Jackson is set to voice JIMBO, a cat who once was a great warrior who now lives life hitting the catnip a bit too hard.  Despite his addled state, JIMBO 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. 
The fur will fly with this cast, which also includes the legendary Mel Brooks as the voice of the SHOGUN, the misguided but benevolent leader. George Takei will lend his inimitable baritone voice to OHGA, the villain's enforcer. Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy, How to Train Your Dragon) voices SUMO, the gentle giant. Aasif Mandvi (Spider-Man 2, The Internship) and Gabriel Iglesias (The Nut Job, Planes) will star as ICHIRO and CHUCK, Kakamucho's Laurel and Hardy towncats, with Sandra Tsing Loh (Chicken Little) as LITTLE MAMA, Kakamucho's cranky grande dame. Introducing 5 year-old America's Got Talent sensation, Heavenly Joy Jerkins, as EMIKO, the feisty kitten who is a natural warrior, with Michelle Yeoh voicing YUKI, Emiko's over-protective mom. And Mel B (Spice Girls, America's Got Talent) serves up a great cameo as THE GIRAFFE, who sees herself as a cat. 
"We've assembled some extraordinarily strong comedic talent for the cast of this fresh, fun and irreverent animated family film," said Minkoff. "From the artistic ambition to the East meets West style of story-telling, everyone involved in creating Blazing Samurai is having a blast." 
"Throughout the recording sessions from Mel Brooks to Mel B, this cast has not only met the humor, but raised the level of comedy and heart in this unique homage to Blazing Saddles," said Landau. "Ed and Nate delivered a first-rate script in Blazing Samurai, a story about cats and dogs getting along that will appeal to everyone whether they've seen the original comedy classic or not." 
"When I first read Blazing Samurai,it bounced me back to my first experience of the joy of animated films," said Michael Ryan, partner at GFM Films. "It's clever, it's hilariously funny, and it has pathos. I think that is why we have such great actors joining the cast. It's such a great piece of writing. We are thrilled with the way our partners have already embraced this film and look forward to sharing more at AFM during our special presentation on Wednesday." 
"There is no business like Shogun business," said Mel Brooks. "And what is wonderful about the film is that it is going to have great appeal not only for kids, but their parents too. It's funny and smart." 
Earlier this year, Open Road Films acquired U.S. distribution rights for the film. Filmmakers and talent, including Minkoff, Landau and Mel Brooks, will showcase footage and visual development from the forthcoming film during the special AFM presentation. 
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), one of the world's leading CG animation and visual effects studios is the lead animation house on the film. The company has deployed a growing crew of talented artists, animators and expert technical directors to bring the creative ambition and artistry of Blazing Samurai to life on the big screen.

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