DreamWorks Animation recently hosted a behind-the-scenes preview of its upcoming fall release, BEE MOVIE at New York's Museum of Modern Art. DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg, voice stars Jerry Seinfeld, Matthew Broderick, RenÃ©e Zellweger and Chris Rock were on hand, along with co-director Steve Hickner. (THE PRINCE OF EGYPT).
Katzenberg introduced Seinfeld, the film's writer and producer. The star of one of TV's most successful comedies -- and someone whose only previous animation experience was co-starring with a cartoon Superman in a series of American Express commercials -- talked about the appeal of creating an animated feature. "It's an incredible way of making a movie. I wanted to see if I could be funny this way after being funny in other ways. I'm thrilled to be making something my kids can go see."
The film stars Seinfeld as Barry B. Benson, a bee who breaks his world's number one rule -- don't talk to humans. His unlikely friendship with human Vanessa (Zellweger) leads to a courtroom confrontation between the two species and complications neither one expected.
After screening in-progress clips from the film, Katzenberg and Seinfeld extolled the high-tech fiber optics network that allowed Manhattanophile Seinfeld to teleconference with the film's California-based production team as if they were sitting across a table from one another. "It's really Star Trekian," enthused Katzenberg, going on to describe shared touch-screen monitors that let Seinfeld work hands-on with the film's animators and editorial crew. "It's the only reason why the movie got made, with Jerry's life and family here in New York. When he started out, he was spending a week a month in L.A.; now he comes to work every day, eight hours a day -- it's an amazing collaboration system."
With the film's Nov. 2, 2007, premiere looming closer every day, all four lead performers are still recording new dialog. "In every one of these movies," Katzenberg explained, "without exception, the last five percent of work is always where 20% of the entertainment comes from. As great as the movie is today, it will be even better as the result of what Jerry does between now and [when the film needs to be ready for release] Oct. 1st."
--reported by Joe Strike