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EMERYVILLE, Calif. (CAP) - Following in the wild success of this year's blockbuster hit Toy Story 3, Pixar Animation Studios has announced its next film will feature single-cell amoebas that don't talk or interact with each other in any way.
"I've always been fascinated by the way amoebas just swim along by themselves, ingesting nutrients through their simple contractile vacuoles to maintain osmotic equilibrium," said director Brad Bird, who also helmed 2007's Ratatouille. "As a storyteller, that's gold."
Pixar, of course, changed animation with 1995's Toy Story, and has taken more and more risks with each successive film. In Amoebas, Bird says the first 45 minutes will feature actual footage of amoebas sitting in a petri dish.
"But we'll use advanced computer animation techniques to make the amoebas express emotions like love, pride and wistfulness," he said.
Pixar studio officials said that eliminating the need for voicetracking and removing 45 minutes of actual animation will help them keep the project under budget and allow producers to attach that many more celebrity names to the film in order to lend credence to the premise and its obvious success.
"We'll definitely have to fashion an amoeba that looks like Betty White," said Bird. "She's the hottest thing going right now."
The film is scheduled for release in the fall of next year, and already has 20th Century Fox Animation nervous about competition for its next animated feature, Gasbag Bear. Insiders report that Fox is considering pushing it off another year to avoid competing with Amoebas.
"Sure, a movie about amoebas sounds like an esoteric bore, but so did the last three or four Pixar films," said a Fox executive close to Gasbag Bear who asked not to be identified. "Although Gasbag Bear has the voices of Bruce Willis and Bette Midler and a soundtrack by the BareNaked Ladies, so this might be the one to finally put us over the top," he added.
Gasbag Bear, according to the Internet Movie Database, is about "a bloated grizzly bear (voice/body noises of Jack Black) who foils a bumbling group of hunters by farting on them."