Toronto, Canada -- Liam Neeson, an Academy Award nominee and three-time Golden Globe winner, joins the all-star cast of Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Stephen Lang, Sarah Gadon, and comedian Jeff Dunham lending their voices for the animated comedy feature The Nut Job, directed by Peter Lepeniotis for ToonBox Entertainment and Redrover Co., Ltd.
Based on the 2005 award-winning comedy short film Surly Squirrel by Disney animation veteran Lepeniotis, The Nut Job marks the Canadian-based ToonBox's first feature film with Korean partner Redrover, in association with Gulfstream Pictures, which is handling U.S. sales.
Fully financed by Redrover and its partners, the film is currently in production with plans for a 2013 release.
Thom Chapman and Graham Moloy produce. Daniel Woo, Hong Kim, Mike Karz and Tom Yoon executive produce, in association with Gulfstream, headed by Karz and Bill Bindley.
"Having the distinguished Liam Neeson lend his talents as the Raccoon villain is the perfect finishing touch," said Lepeniotis. "His contribution fulfills that dramatic need in our comedy adventure. It's an honor working with him."
Written by veteran Disney animation screenwriter and Canadian Lorne Cameron (Brother Bear, Over the Hedge), The Nut Job is an action-packed comedy grounded in the late 1950s in fictional Oakton that follows the travails of Surly, a mischievous squirrel, and his rat friend Buddy, who plan a nut store heist of outrageous proportions and unwittingly find themselves embroiled in a much more complicated and hilarious adventure that brings them face-to-face with some unsavory characters like Raccoon, King, Fingers, Lucky and Knuckles.
Lepeniotis has worked with Pixar Animation Studios and Industrial Light & Magic and as an animator on hit films Fantasia 2000 and Toy Story 2. His short Surly Squirrel was awarded Siggraph's 2005 People's Choice Award for Best Animated Film, Palm Spring's 2005 Audience Best Animation Award and Ottawa's Animation Festival NFB Audience Award for Best Animation. His first project with ToonBox was the animated TV series Bolts & Blip.
Liam Neeson starred in Steven Spielberg's critically acclaimed and award-winning Schindler's List, and the box office hits Taken and Taken 2, Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Batman Begins, Love Actually and Gangs of New York. He next stars in Non-Stop with Julianne Moore, The Third Person with Mila Kunis, James Franco and Olivia Wilde, and in the animated Lego: The Piece of Resistance, along with The Nut Job co-star Will Arnett.
Source: Toonbox Entertainment