A shop reel has been completed for an anticipated feature-length stop motion film adaptation of The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers’ epic tale, Grass Roots (issue 5 of the comic). As you can see, a domain is being squatted in the meantime.
Ain’t It Cool News has recently posted a short blurb about it, featuring a lovely large still, following up on an earlier one. Some further Googling led me, strangely enough to the Country Cowfreaks Head Shop node on the British eBay site (hey, don’t ask me) which appears to have the most complete info I’ve found so far.
The Bolex Brothers — the demented lads best known for the fantastic stop-mo flick, The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (1993) — are producing it (or at least trying to raise the cash for it), with Tom Thumb director Dave Borthwick at the helm, Freak Brothers creator Gilbert Shelton himself serving as artistic director, and Aardman veteran David Alex Riddett heading up the crew. Meanwhile, the Net is rife with voice casting rumors that are (as usual) probably worth about as much as the electrons used to propagate them.
The shop reel was shown at the Brighton Comic Expo back in November, with Andy Leighton, Shelton, and others on the project in attendance.
Some further Googling revealed a Variety story from May, 2005 announcing a foreign distro deal with Celluloid Dreams, which has also handled internaitonal distro for the Wallace and Gromit films, The Triplets of Belleville, Kirikou and the Wild Beasts (new sequel to Kirikou and the Sorceress), and other fine animated films. That, combined with what Variety reported to be a preliminary budget of $22.5 million (!), indicates the Freak Brothers flick is being taken seriously enough as a project.
But don’t hold your breath just yet (although…that does tend to, uh, accentuate things). The Furry ones were first optioned for film by Universal Studios back in 1979. Apparently the election of Ronald Reagan as president killed everyone’s buzz (I know mine suffered, and I was only 14), and nothing came of it. In the 25 years since, various other film options and projects have lapsed, been rumored and vanished, or otherwise slipped away with the incense, including a relatively recent animated project by Film Roman.
(A nice lid to Mike for turning me on to the story, man. Far out.)