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'Trouble Down Under' adds director

CGI feature aiming for Oct. 2012 release

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.