Highmore lends voice to 'Astro Boy'

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Freddie Highmore will voice the title role in "Astro Boy," a computer-animated feature from Imagi Studios.

Created by Osamu Tezuka, the "Astro Boy" franchise began as an original animated television series that aired in Japan during the 1960s.

Set in futuristic Metro City, Imagi's "Astro Boy" tells the story of a young robot created by a scientist to replace the son he lost. Unable to fulfill the grieving father's expectations, Astro Boy embarks on a journey of discovery before he returns to save Metro City and reconcile with his creator.

Said director David Bowers: "Astro Boy is a beloved superhero and has captured hearts around the globe for more than 50 years. I can't wait to see where Freddie takes him."

Maryann Garger is producing the film, budgeted at $40 million. A 2009 worldwide release is planned by the Weinstein Co. and Warner Bros. Pictures International.

Highmore most recently appeared in "The Spiderwick Chronicles." His other credits include "The Golden Compass," "August Rush," "Arthur and the Invisibles" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
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