Jock goes to Hollywood
Jock of the Bushveld is leaving for Hollywood, literally, as film director Duncan MacNeillie takes his 3D animated remake of the classic tale to American movie studios in a bid to gain distribution in markets outside South Africa.
MacNeillie was responsible the original film version of Jock, starring Jonathan Rands in 1986. The tale, written by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick and first published in 1907, plays out during the gold rush in the then Eastern Transvaal and follows the adventures of Fitzpatrick as a prospector and transport rider, and his heroic runt Staffordshire terrier named Jock. I remember seeing it as a kid and spending most of the afternoon in tears after Jock gets mistakenly shot and dies at the end of the remarkable tale.
MacNeillie confirms that the animated version will see a happier ending than the original, which should come as a relief to parents, as well as the proprietors of cinemas. The movie will be aimed at the whole family and will play out from the animals’ point of view.
The project started four-and-a-half years ago with actual production lasting three. Budget figures quoted in the media range from US$10 million to R50 million but MacNeillie says the numbers don’t come from him. It was financed by private investors (a story in the Daily Maverick mentions Standard Bank chief executive Jacko Maree and Hollard Insurance founder Miles Japhetand) and a grant from the dti.
Whatever the budget, it is a substantial production (for SA), with around 25 people working on it at Jock Animation, seven being character illustrators.
Release is tentatively scheduled for March 2011 through Ster-Kinekor but the release (and the distribution partner) might be affected by negotiations with international distributors. MacNeillie confirms he will have a clearer picture at the end of December on his return from his US trip
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