Actor Leslie Nielsen and Canadian animation house Amberwood Entertainment have entered into a joint venture to produce a range of family-oriented TV and video projects as well as a live-action theatrical feature with Nielsen in the lead.
In all, the deal will see 390 half-hour animated episodes, three animated feature-length productions for broadcast or straight to video as well as the film. Nielsen, best known as the guileless bumbling Lieut. Frank Drebin in The Naked Gun movie franchise, will provide voiceovers in some of the animated fare.
According to Amberwood COO Mark Edwards, the package will have a total production budget of $150m over five years. The first production under the joint venture will start this summer.
Amberwood CEO Sheldon Wiseman told Screen International: "[Leslie] understands the industry from a business perspective not just an actor's perspective." He said the actor is considering material for the feature but that the production would be unlikely to gear up until next year.
Wiseman said Nielsen's involvement will enable the company to boost its level of production and its acquisition of libraries of existing productions that fit the joint venture's parameters.