Oddworld duo team with Vanguard for 'Siege'


Lorne Lanning and Sherry McKenna, former Rhythm & Hues executives and co-founders of videogame developer Oddworld Inhabitants, have teamed with John Williams' Vanguard Animation to develop "Citizen Siege," a CG animated sci-fi action thriller.
Lanning will make his directorial debut with this project, while McKenna will executive product with Vanguard execs Terry Botwick and Margaret French Isaac.
"Sherry and I have always dreamed of bringing audiences powerful and inspiring stories that push the CG animated feature film into some exciting new territory," said Lanning. " The time for tools and technology is right, the partnership is right, and the audience is ready, so this is the opportunity we've been waiting for to prove if we've got what it takes."
In "Citizen Siege," Lanning and McKenna are creating a new universe where current global conditions are extrapolated into a frightening near future where democracy has all but disintegrated under the rule of global corporatism. Well-known for their heartfelt characters and socially relevant storylines, Oddworld intends to raise the intensity level as their latest hero, an expatriate, finds himself ensnared in a nightmarish credit racket that leaves him "repossessed."
"'Citizen Siege' promises to be an action thriller that, like other great science fiction stories, also has incredible poignancy to the universal issues of our time," said Williams, who optioned, developed and produced "Shrek" at DreamWorks. "Lorne and Sherry are highly revered as founding masters of CG animation and we think 'Citizen Siege' is perfectly suited to be a break out action adventure."
Oddworld retains the videogame rights for "Citizen Siege," and Lanning said a videogame deal will follow.
"Interest has been high, but we did not want to secure a game agreement before the film deal was inked... for the obvious benefits of launching a film production first," said Lanning.
Lanning said the plan is to develop the CG film and videogame simultaneously so that both the linear and interactive elements can launch together.
Lanning and McKenna's "Oddworld" videogame franchise, which has sold over 5 million copies worldwide during the past 10 years. Williams said he was a fan of the company's "Oddworld: Abe's Odyssey" videogame, which Williams called "a genre-busting original."
"I'm a storyteller and solid stories transcend all mediums, of which 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings' are the prime examples," said Lanning. "As we head deeper into the 21st century... film, television, and interactive design will continue to grow more intertwined."
Oddworld is repped by CAA.