'Trouble Down Under' adds director

Steve Trenbirth, the Aussie who directed Disney's direct to video sequels "The Lion King II" and "Jungle Book II," has signed to direct the $25 million indie CGI feature "Trouble Down Under," based on a story by fellow Aussie Tony Findlay, who will also produce.

The $25 million animated feature, to be made in Sydney, Australia, will be produced by Fastlane Entertainment of Santa Monica, whose founder/CEO Frank Miniaci will be co-exec producer.

Voice cast includes Rove McManus, who is co-host of Valerie Bertinelli's upcoming CBS talk show; Cameron Daddo ("24"), Andrew Daddo, Ernie Dingo ("Crocodile Dundee") and Tony Bonner.

The screenplay, by Findlay and Howard Jackson, is set in the Australian outback, where a mob of African meerkats cause tension with the local kangaroo mob after a white wallaby shows up and causes confusion. 

The producers are said to be negotiating a U.S. distribution deal for the movie, which is aimed for a October 2012 release.

Trenbirth, who will also co-produce through his Mad Cow Pictures, was also animation director on "Lady and the Tramp II," and "Aladdin and the King of Thieves," among others.

Fastlane plans to hold a contest to cast the two youngsters in the movie, with one to be selected from Australia and one from the U.S.

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