Vidgame director sinks his teeth into 'Thundercats'

Gears of War vet takes the first big-screen step.
Warner Bros. has tapped veteran video game art director Jerry O'Flaherty (Epic Games' Gears of War) for his debut feature helming gig on the studio's CG-animated big-screen Thundercats feature, reports Variety's MARC GRASER.

Having circled several projects in his desire to leap into moviemaking, O'Flaherty decided that the Thundercats story appealed to him, especially since vidgames are increasingly incorporating lavish animated sequences that mimic pics, making a cartoon a much easier transition than a live-action flick.

"It feels like a natural thing for me to step into," he said. "Games have come so far now. The last four years of my life have been about bringing the energy of filmmaking into the videogame experience."

Paula Weinstein (Blood Diamond) will produce through her Warner-based Spring Creek Productions banner.

Based on characters created by Tobin "Ted" Wolf, the original '83 television series, animated by Pacific Animation Corp, followed the adventures of a group of humanoid cats who fled their doomed home planet, Thundera, and crash-landed on Third Earth, where they defended themselves against the ancient Mumm-Ra, who sought to wipe them out.

Thundercats spawned additional animated series, an LJN toy line, and comic books from Marvel and DC.

As he begins work on the screenplay adaptation with Fox Broadcasting ad writer Paul Sopocy (who also wrote the 2005 Sundance short Staring at the Sun), O'Flaherty plans to remain faithful to the Thundercats franchise. The feature reportedly expands on the major heroes and villains from the animated series, with the plot focusing on the character Lion-O as he emerges as the leader of the Thundercats.

Despite having acquired rights to the property along with Telepictures Corp. in '89, Warner hadn’t seen big-screen potential until cartoon series like Transformers entered the development phase.

[Thanks to RYAN BALL at Animation Magazine for additional content.]
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