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Hugh Jackman’s Animated Musical ‘Larrikins‘ Canceled by DreamWorks Animation

Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images
Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

Unless you’re a die-hard fan of animated film, Hugh Jackman, or Tim Minchin (or someone whose job requires them to obsessively keep up with movie news, ahem), then the title Larrikins might not mean anything to you. The Australian animated musical has been in development since 2011, but it appears that recent changes at DreamWorks Animation have led to the project’s cancellation, and we may never know the joy of a singing animated bilby (it’s a marsupial) voiced by Hugh Jackman.

The news comes via Cartoon Brew, which picked up this post from the official blog of musician, composer and comedian Tim Minchin — who was originally hired to write songs for Larrikins back in 2013 and was eventually promoted to co-director alongside Chris Miller (Puss in Boots):

Hi everyone.

 

I’ve recently been working in 3 different continents, missing my kids a lot, sleeping too little and not playing piano enough.

 

And then a couple of days ago, the animated film to which I’ve dedicated the last 4 years of my life was shut down by the new studio execs.

 

The only way I know how to deal with my impotent fury and sadness is to subject members of the public to the spectacle of me getting drunk and playing ballads.

 

I suspect I won’t be very funny, I won’t be doing any stand-up, and I might act a bit bitter and spoilt. On the upside, the tickets are as cheap as I could make them, and I might be tempted to buy a round.

 

Come and drink with me, my friends, and we’ll see what happens.

 

Love, Tim

Larrikins followed the story of an uptight bilby who leaves his sheltered burrow life behind and finds himself caught up in a “mystical” and musical adventure across the Outback. Described as a “musical road movie,” the film was meant to feature an all-star Aussie voice cast, including Margot Robbie, Ben Mendelsohn, Naomi Watts and Rose Byrne.

DreamWorks Animation set a February 16, 2018 release for Larrikins, but — as Minchin alludes to in his post — the studio was recently sold to NBCUniversal, resulting in some changes to the executive order. It’s unclear if any of the company’s other projects in development, like B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations (which has already suffered delays), will be affected by the transition.

The studio’s latest film, The Boss Baby (featuring the voice of Alec Baldwin in the title role), is set to hit theaters on March 31. DreamWorks Animation also recently announced plans for a sequel to last year’s surprise hit Trolls, with Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick returning to reprise their roles.

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