Scribes ride shotgun on 'Safari'

Craig Zobel, Matt Chapman to pen script for stop-motion film

Craig Zobel and Matt Chapman are going on a "Monster Safari."

The screenwriting pair and three directors from the effects/production company Screen Novelties -- Mark Caballero, Chris Finnegan and Seamus Walsh -- will create the stop-motion animation project for the Jim Henson Co.

"Safari" began life as a short film from Screen Novelties that Henson execs Lisa Henson and Jason Lust decided to spin into a feature.

"What's great about Screen Novelties is their look and feel is very Henson-esque," Lust said. "There was a stylistic similarity."

The "Safari" story revolves around what happens when the Earth's monsters come out of hiding and a pair of bumbling crypto-zoologists spring into action to save them from a ruthless big-game hunter.

Zobel and Chapman, who founded the animation site Homestarrunner.com with Chapman's brother Mike, had been shopping an animation spec titled "Ron Planet." The Henson execs read it, liked it and gave them the "Safari" gig.

"They have a wry, witty sense of humor that fits perfectly with the Henson and the Screen Novelties approach to comedy," Lust said.

Zobel co-wrote and directed "Great World of Sound." He also has the comedy "Loudermilk" in development at the Heder brothers' Greasy Entertainment and "Gizmondo" in development at Contrafilm.

Screen Novetlies, Zobel and Chapman are repped by Gersh.
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