What do Buzz Lightyear, Kermit the Frog, and Phineas and Ferb have in common? Well, they're all Disney characters. But now they have something else in common as well...people who have worked with these legends will be helping the boys out in developing their feature film, set for release in July 2013. (How many degrees does that set them apart from Kevin Bacon?)
The Los Angeles Times reported today, citing "a person familiar with the movie who was not authorized to talk about it publicly," that Michael Arndt will be revising the original draft for the feature written by series creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh. Mr. Arndt brings a lot of clout in Hollywood. His first feature was the indie darling Little Miss Sunshine, which garnered him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. He then wrote the screenplay for another little film you might have heard of- Toy Story 3 (from an original concept by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich). Another darling of the media, critics, and the general public, the Pixar threequel became the highest-grossing animated film of all time, and gave Mr. Arndt another (unsuccessful) shot at the golden guy with a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. (Sequels are officially considered "adapted screenplays" at the Oscars since they are based on previously existing characters/movies.) For that matter, it was also only the third animated feature in Oscar history to be nominated for Best Picture- with Disney putting their weight behind it to win it all with an (also unsuccessful) ad campaign evoking other famous Oscar upsets.
Besides having a big name in the writer's chair, the perpetual boys of summer have a powerful producer in their corner, too- the film will be produced by Mandeville Films, which itself also has a long history with Disney ties. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Mandeville's co-founder David Hoberman served as the president of the motion picture arm of The Walt Disney Company, with a hand in a string of hits for the studio and its adult-oriented arm Touchstone Pictures, including such well-known films Pretty Woman, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Father of the Bride, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning Vietnam, Ed Wood, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Three Men and a Baby, Sister Act, and many, many others. After leaving the Mouse House for MGM, Mr. Hoberman co-founded Mandeville Films with Todd Lieberman. Hoberman co-created the hit USA cable series Monk, produced by Disney's Touchstone Television, and has produced a number of live-action films for the Mouse, including their upcoming highly-touted fall feature The Muppets.
The Times reports that Disney representatives could not be reached for comment, as well as remarking that the film, whose plot is still being developed, is now a high-priority project for the Boys at Buena Vista. With the two legendary names with a long Disney history now attached to the project, there can be no greater proof of it. Hopefully Mr. Arndt and Mr. Hoberman's proven track record will continue to shine with the Danville duo.