First Look: Animated Comedy ‘Blazing Samurai,’ Starring Michael Cera, Samuel L. Jackson, Ricky Gervais (EXCLUSIVE)

The first images have been released for “Blazing Samurai,” an animated comedy based on Mel Brooks’ classic film “Blazing Saddles,” and featuring the voices of Michael Cera, Samuel L. Jackson and Ricky Gervais. It is produced and co-directed by Rob Minkoff, the director of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

The project is in production at Cinesite Montreal and is on schedule for delivery later this year. GFM Animation will be selling the film at next week’s European Film Market, where distributors will be able to screen the latest cut of the film, with 75% of the animation completed and more than 30% lit and fully rendered.

“Blazing Samurai” follows the story of Hank, a loveable mutt with big dreams of becoming a samurai. When he finds himself with a new job as sheriff of Kakamucho, he also finds he may have bitten off more than he can chew given the town is inhabited solely by cats.


Courtesy of Aniventure & Align/HB Wink Animation/GFM Animation

The Japanese-inspired animated comedy “teaches kids and adults alike that embracing diversity is what truly makes you a hero,” said GFM Animation.

As well as Cera, Jackson and Gervais, the voice cast includes George Takei, Michelle Yeoh, Djimon Hounsou and Brooks.

Minkoff said: “ ‘Blazing Samurai’ is a freewheeling mash-up of East and West. An action-packed comedy featuring incredible performances from our stellar cast of hilarious characters, it also delivers a great message of inclusion and acceptance. It’s sure to be a treat the whole family can enjoy.”

Producer Guy Collins added: “Seeing ‘Blazing Samurai’ come together has been a huge boost in these COVID-impacted times. This was always an ambitious independent animated movie yet the combination of the production, creative and CG animation teams has been seamless and that shines through in the showreel. Having such outstanding animation creatives, Rob Minkoff and Mark Koetsier guiding production and working with the Cinesite team means that what we’re seeing on screen is truly world class.”

Mark Koetsier (“The Grinch,” “Big Hero 6,” “Madagascar: Escape to Africa”) is directing alongside Minkoff (“The Lion King,” “Mr Peabody & Sherman,” “Stuart Little”), who is also producing with Adam Nagle (“Riverdance: The Animated Adventure”) and Collins.

It is produced by Aniventure & Align, HB Wink Animation and GFM Animation.

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