A host of acclaimed actors and recording artists, including Harry Connick, Jr. and Jennifer Aniston, have joined the cast of Warner Bros. Feature Animation's upcoming project, "The Iron Giant," a fully animated version of Ted Hughes' acclaimed novel, The Iron Man. Others who have signed on to add their voice talents to the film include Eli Marienthal, Christopher McDonald, John Mahoney, M. Emmet Walsh, Cloris Leachman and James Gammon. The announcement was made by Max Howard, President, Warner Bros. Feature Animation.
Noted animation director and writer Brad Bird ("The Simpsons") is directing "The Iron Giant," with Allison Abbate ("Space Jam") producing from a screenplay by Tim McCanlies and Andy Brent Forrester. Tony-winning theatrical producer and director Des McAnuff will also receive a production credit, as will recording artist Pete Townshend, who brought a live musical version of Hughes' novel to the stage.
Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate to Queen Elizabeth since 1984, wrote The Iron Man in 1968. In the version adapted by McCanlies and Forrester for the screen, a giant metal machine falls to Earth and frightens the residents of a small town in Maine in 1958, until it befriends a nine-year-old boy named Hogarth and ultimately finds its humanity by unselfishly saving people from their own fears and prejudices.
Jennifer Aniston will voice Annie Hughes, Hogarth's mother, and Harry Connick, Jr. will play Dean McCoppen, one of the town's residents who befriends Hogarth and the giant. Newcomer Eli Marienthal will portray the young Hogarth and Cloris Leachman, his teacher. Other starring vocal roles include Kent Mansley (Christopher McDonald), a government agent determined to destroy the giant; his boss (John Mahoney); an army general (James Gammon); and Earl (M. Emmet Walsh), a fisherman with a tale to tell.
Jennifer Aniston currently stars in the fourth season of NBC's award-winning ensemble series, "Friends," and was recently seen in the big screen comedy "Picture Perfect," opposite Kevin Bacon, Jay Mohr and Olympia Dukakis. Her other feature credits include "She's The One," "'Til There Was You" and the independent "Dreams for an Insomniac." Aniston will soon be seen in the upcoming romantic comedy-drama "Object of My Affection."
Harry Connick, Jr. has smoothly segued between an award-winning recording career and a successful acting career, having completed recent starring roles in "Excess Baggage," "Independence Day" and "Copycat." The double Grammy Award-winner (with one gold, four platinum and three multi-platinum albums) also had roles in "Little Man Tate" and "Memphis Belle" and will be seen opposite Sandra Bullock and Gena Rowlands in "Hope Floats."
Eli Marienthal has recently completed work on a role in the feature film "Slums of Beverly Hills," opposite Alan Arkin, Marisa Tomei and Rita Moreno. He made his film debut in the independent feature "First Love, Last Rites." A resident of Northern California's Bay Area, Marienthal has appeared in various theatrical productions there, including several produced by the prestigious American Conservatory Theater.
Tony Award-winner John Mahoney is familiar to television audiences for his acerbic portrayal of Frasier and Miles Crane's father, Martin, on the award-winning hit series "Frasier." His extensive list of credits includes starring roles in the features "She's the One," "Primal Fear," "The American President," "Reality Bites," "In the Line of Fire" and "Barton Fink." He received the Tony Award for Jerry Zaks' Broadway revival of "House of Blue Leaves."
Multiple Emmy-winner and Academy Award-winner Cloris Leachman has starred in a wide range of theater, television and motion picture projects over a career of more than 40 years, creating such indelible characters as Phyllis in the TV series "Phyllis" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Nurse Diesel in Mel Brooks' feature, "High Anxiety," Frau Bluecher in "Young Frankenstein" and Ruth Popper in "The Last Picture Show," the last-named performance earning her an Oscar. Her recent feature credits include "Never Too Late," "Now and Then" and "Beverly Hillbillies."
Christopher McDonald starred in the recent hit "Flubber," as well as in "Leave It to Beaver," "Happy Gilmore," "House Arrest," "Terminal Velocity," "Quiz Show," "Grumpy Old Men" and "Thelma and Louise." He currently appears as Bryce on the hit television series "Veronica's Closet," and had starring roles in HBO's "Tuskegee Airmen" and the series "Gun."
James Gammon can currently be seen in Robert Duvall's acclaimed film, "The Apostle," and has had starring roles in "The Eighth Day," "Traveler," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," "Leaving Normal," "Bad to the Bone," "I Love You to Death" and "Major League." He received a Tony nomination for his lead role in the recent Broadway production of "Buried Child" and has appeared as a series regular on television's "Nash Bridges."
M. Emmet Walsh has completed roles in more than 60 motion pictures, including "My Best Friend's Wedding," "A Time to Kill," "Albino Alligator," "Raising Arizona," "Blade Runner" and "Blood Simple." He also appeared in the Broadway production of the acclaimed play "That Championship Season" and in a recurring role on the hit series "Home Improvement."