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Aardman Halts Tortoise vs Hare, Lays Off 90

Aardman Animations has halted work on TORTOISE VS HARE. The Bristol-based studio plans to start production up again in six months after script problems are worked out. Due to the hiatus 90 out of its 172 crew were laid off, but Aardman hopes to rehire them once production begins again. "The characters have got to be fleshed out," Aardman spokesman Arthur Sheriff said. "One of the biggest criticisms of British films is that they tend to be underdeveloped, so we wanted to fix that." Sheriff said that new writers were brought in to help polish up the script written by Karey Kirkpatrick and Mark Burton. However, he declined to give names of the new script doctors. The film is being directed by Richard Goleszowski and Peter Lord. Aardman's first feature CHICKEN RUN had been in development for two and a half years before it started shooting, whereas TORTOISE was only in development for 14 months. Sheriff also made a point of stating that DreamWorks suspended production twice on SHREK, which has grossed US$228 million so far in the States alone.

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