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Animated Asterix Film To Be Europe Most Expensive Production

Based on the popular comic strip, ASTERIX AND THE VIKINGS will boast a $25 million budget, making it the most expensive European animated feature in history, reported THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The film is an adaptation of a 1967 album, which has Vikings kidnapping little warrior Asterix, so they can learn fear, thus gaining the power to fly. The film will be completely financed by French firm M6 and Denmark's Stefan Fjeldmark (HELP, I'M A FISH) will helm the 75-minute film. Fjeldmark also co-wrote the script with Belgian Jean-Luc Goossens. The picture with feature a mix of 2D and 3D animation, reminiscent of the DreamWorks tra-digital features, ROAD TO EL DORADO and SINBAD. The film is scheduled for completion in 2006.

"It's a very international theme based on the universal concept of resisting invaders," said Natalie Altmann, M6's head of youth programming.

ASTERIX is one of the best known comic strip characters in Europe, rivaled by TINTIN, THE SMURFS and LUKY LUKE. However, his popularity in the U.S. is elusive. In addition to animated films in the past done in Germany, two recent live-action films were huge hits in France. Created by Pathe, those films starred Christian Clavier (THE VISITORS) as Asterix and Gerard Depardieu (GREEN CARD) as his sidekick, Obelix. In 1999's ASTERIX AND OBELIX MEET CAESAR, Roberto Benigni (LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL) played Lucius Detritus and Gottfried John (GOLDENEYE) played the Roman ruler, Caesar. In 2002's ASTERIX AND OBELIX MEET CLEOPATRA, the Egyptian beauty is played by MATRIX RELOADED bad girl, Monica Bellucci.