Variety reports that Warners and Warner Animation Group (WAG) are in arrangements with Shaft director, Tim Story, to helm the new Tom and Jerry live-action/animated hybrid.
Warners has been cranking up the animated content since the release of The Lego Movie, which was released at the same time as the launch of the Warner Animation Group in 2013. Allison Abbate was tapped to manage the division and executives, including Jesse Ehrman and president of the production, Courtenay Valenti, have made a major push to get classic titles like the Hanna-Barbera properties off the ground.
Tom and Jerry is expected to be the first live-action hybrid to shoot in 2019, and insiders say timing helped when it came to getting the Ride Along director, who has experience in animation. Story recently finished production on New Line’s Shaft reboot and was talking to WB execs about what he was interested in doing next. When the classic cartoon property was brought up, Story immediately mentioned his admiration for the characters and how he’d love tackling that property.
The plan for the film is to shoot in the real world with animated versions of the familiar cat and mouse duo. Sources also say that since Tom and Jerry didn’t speak and relied on physical comedy to draw laughs, this version will stick to that style and not cast actors to voice the duo. That decision should also help add to the international appeal of the film.