'Ice Age’ Live Show Producers Discuss Original Film and New Characters
LONDON – Producers of "Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure," an original live show based on Fox's Ice Age film franchise, provided some glimpses into the show and its planned new characters on Wednesday. And they unveiled the Scrat character whose look, costume and antics drew applause.
News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products unit last year struck a deal with European live entertainment producer and promoter Stage Entertainment to launch the show, which will combine ice skating, aerial arts, kung fu, puppetry and more, in early November of this year. After a debut at London’s Wembley Arena, it will go on a five-year tour of more than 30 countries.
Fox, believed to get a licensing fee and part of the show’s revenue, has been looking for ways to bring its franchises into live event venues. The location-based entertainment experience based on Ice Age, which is one of the biggest animated film franchises worldwide with more than $4 billion in box office, home entertainment and consumer products sales, is being put together by a teamthat includes Cirque du Soleil productions veteran Guy Caron as director and costume design team leader Michael Curry (Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney, Olympics).
Story and music come from Ella Louise Allaire and Martin Lord Ferguson who are not completely finished with the story and script yet, producers said here Wednesday at the BFI Imax.
Caron said the creators and Fox have been in constant communications to keep the entertainment company involved and get approval of creative decisions, such as new characters. “The brand is so important for them and us,” Caron said. “This is the best brand of the company. We have had good communications…It has been very easy.”
“They are a very forward-looking company,” Curry added about Fox. “They knew that we would not do a verbatim version of the films,” but have been very supportive.
The producers didn’t disclose details of the live event’s story, but it is understood to be based on the first three films. “It's really a new story we're bringing to life,” Ferguson said in a video.
“We're respecting the Ice Age films, but creating something new,” Curry echoed, promising that fans would find it to be a “huge journey” that is “familiar, but different.”
And he emphasized that the live show is neither spectacle, nor musical or circus. “We're reinventing the form…We're combining many different forms.
As far as known Ice Age characters go, the show will include the likes of core characters Manny, Sid, and Diego, newborn mammoth Peaches and hyper-active opossums Crash and Eddie. Manny will be on stage “nearly all the time,” Curry said, explaining that the mammoth makes for a good backdrop for others on stage as the show’s anchor.
Shadow, a bird with 5 meter wing span, who rules his clan from the air, will be one original character that the producers are adding. “The air is neglected in most live shows,” Curry said.
Chaos, Duke and Nyx are three other birds that are new to the show. The can’t fly, but are jealous of their leader, Curry explained, adding: “They're funny and stupid.” And they are fantastic kung fu fighters.
Overall, “the new characters are very consistent with the Ice Age characters,” Curry said.
Robert Marick, executive vp of Fox Consumer Products, said in a video message that so far, it looks as if the producers would gave “a much better show than we could have imagined.” Added Jeffrey Godsick, president of Fox Consumer Products: “So far it has been an amazing cooperation.”
And Marick in a statement said that the unveiling of the first character of the show is just a taste for fans. “Revealing Scrat – one of the most recognizable characters from the film franchise – was the best way to show the world what’s in store for the production, and elusive nut-chasing antics are definitely a part of it.”