DreamWorks is preparing to get creepy, tossing aside ogres, fairy tales, aliens and dragons for a story about an ominous toy store and a little girl who gets sucked in by a rather familiar-looking doll. The premise alone makes this project interesting, but to up the ante it's coming to us from producer Guillermo del Toro and Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas.
Turning the clocks back a year: While hard at work on Pixar movies like 'Up,' animator Rodrigo Blaas decided to write and direct his own short called 'Alma.' This small passion project soon become more than just a nice hobby for Blaas. The short began winning awards like Best Animation at the L.A. Shorts Festival, and reeked of feature potential.
Now The Hollywood Reporter posts that Blaas is in negotiations to jump ship to DreamWorks Animation to make his feature film debut with an adaptation of his short, with the help of del Toro -- and it seems to be a pretty close partnership. The director of 'Pan's Labyrinth' will not only work with the new filmmaker to adapt his material -- Blaas will also act as co-director on del Toro's first animated feature, 'Trollhunters.'
'Alma' is a really neat short about a little girl who discovers a strange toy store while walking through a snow-covered alley one day. Full of dolls, she's intrigued because the one in the window looks exactly like her -- same face, hair and clothing. The more intrigued she gets, the further the doll moves away from her -- not to keep her from breaking something, but because the shop wants to add her to its permanent collection.
It's a very Pixar-esque short, and considering how great it looks and how neat the subject matter is, one has to wonder why they didn't bite -- especially since Blaas has been there for years, working on Pixar films since 'Finding Nemo.' Too dark for the animation house?
Whatever the case, it's not too dark for DreamWorks, and should be a great mix of childish verve and eerie maliciousness. Check out the short for yourself below, and keep an eye out for the boy doll on a bike (talk about a simple way to make things really, really creepy).