Crood Awakening 'toon finally rises

It seems like a prehistoric age has passed since DreamWorks, flush with love for all things quirky, British and animated, proudly announced that they had snapped up the stone-age script Crood Awakening, penned by John Cleese and Kirk De Micco.

That was 2005. Now, two years later, the company isn’t so committed to British animators (buh-bye, Aardman), but it’s still found room for Crood.

And now Chris Sanders, who co-wrote The Lion King and worked his way up the Disney food chain to direct Lilo & Stitch, has dumped his bags on DreamWorks Animation’s floor and decided that he’ll direct the CG project.

"Chris is one of the most inventive and imaginative filmmakers I've ever worked with," DWA CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg gushed to The Hollywood Reporter "His unique storytelling style and sensibility are perfectly suited for Crood Awakening. It is such a pleasure to collaborate with him once again on another exciting project. We are so happy to have him on board at DreamWorks."

And it seems that Sanders feels the same way: "I look forward to working with Jeffrey and the other filmmakers at DreamWorks Animation. They have dedicated themselves to a complex and classic craft, but have also proven that they are driven to take it to new places."

There’s an interesting back-story to this, though… up until recently, Sanders had been hard at work on American Dog for Disney, which was generating healthy buzz within animation circles. But when Pixar executive John Lasseter arrived to oversee Disney’s animation department last year, he wasn’t exactly thrilled with what Sanders had been developing. And so, as of last December, Sanders was out, ditching Disney due to “creative differences” and now finding a home within the warm bosom of DreamWorks.

He’ll have a little time to work on the project, at least – DreamWorks hasn’t set a release date yet.