Another Christmas Carol

Director Robert Zemeckis, of Forrest Gump, Back to the Future and Castaway fame, has got a jonesing for motion capture animation. He’s already knocked off The Polar Express and next up he’ll hit theaters with his take on the Beowulf saga. One would think that he’d eventually get tired of this technology and return to regular old filmmaking, however, his next project is going to be for Disney and a holiday 2009 release.

We’re talking about his take on the Charles Dickins classic, A Christmas Carol. He’s already lined up Jim Carrey to play Scrooge, but it’s also been announced that Carrey will portray the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. This will be the first production for Zemeckis’s ImageMovers Digital Studio. Which Disney is, no doubt, hoping can become their next Pixar Studios.

According to Jim Hill Media, Zemeckis has also lined up Bob Hoskins to portray Mr. Fizziwig and he’s trying to coax Tom Hanks, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd into the roles of Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and Marley’s Ghost, respectively.

Getting back to “A Christmas Carol” now … It’s important to keep in mind that Hanks, Lloyd & Fox (as well as Mr. Hoskins) are allegedly just on Zemeckis’ casting “Wish List.” So while he’s already supposedly spoken informally with all of these performers about possibly appearing in this project, it’s still up to Disney & the actors’ agents to work out all of the necessary details before Tom, Christopher, Michael J. & Bob can all officially come on board this film.

Meantime, the suits back in Burbank would obviously love it if they could have all of this star power behind ImageMoversDigital’s premiere production. But that said, some Mouse House managers are reportedly already grumbling about this proposed casting stunt. Suggesting that it will unnecessarily drive up the production cost of this already sure-to-be-expensive project. More to the point, particularly when it comes to Mr. Fox … Well, there are those at the studio who — due to his long courageous struggle with Parkinson’s Disease — are wondering aloud if Michael J. will really be up for the rigors of production.

Mind you, Mr. Fox isn’t the only “Christmas Carol” cast member that Disney execs are reportedly worried about. Given Mr. Carrey’s somewhat difficult reputation (As well as his bailing out on voicing the role of R.J. in DreamWorks Animation’s “Over the Hedge” back in 2004. Supposedly because Jim really didn’t enjoy the piecemeal approach that actors have to take when recording dialogue for an animated film), Mouse House officials are just hoping that they can keep Carrey on board this project long enough to get all the vocals & performance capture work that they need to finish the picture.

If Robert Zemeckis can line that cast up, and there’s no reason, other than financially, why he wouldn’t be able to, then it looks as if this could be the defining holiday movie for 2009. Take a gander at an image from the movie.

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