Source: SciFi Wire
Tim Johnson, director of DreamWorks’ upcoming animated movie Over the Hedge, told SCI FI Wire that William Shatner will spoof his Star Trek character of Capt. James T. Kirk by voicing Ozzie the Possum. “Ozzie has to show that when a possum is threatened, you pretend you are dead,” Johnson said in an interview at a preview of DreamWorks’ upcoming slate of animated movies last week. “He explains to his daughter [voiced by singer Avril Lavigne] how you have to die, and of course, ‘You die! DIE! DIE!‘ in the only way William Shatner can say it.”
Ozzie the Possum will seem to subtly channel the over-the-top dramatic delivery of Capt. Kirk in the animated feature, which is being prepared for release in the theaters next spring, Johnson said. (He co-directed Antz and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.) Over the Hedge is based on the popular newspaper comic strip featuring talking woodland animals.
Garry Shandling voices Verne the turtle, and Bruce Willis voices the wise-cracking raccoon R.J. (He replaces Jim Carrey, who dropped out of the project.)
Over the Hedge is envisioned as a prequel to the comic strip, where the two main characters are already best friends. In the movie, Verne is initially suspicious of R.J. and doesn’t particularly like him. They meet when Verne and the other woodland creatures discover that a huge hedge sprang up at the outskirts of their forest during their hibernation, and a suburban neighborhood was built nearby. R.J. explains to the other critters that the humans are friendly, and they offer their food to the animals in giant silver serving dishes that they leave outside. When Verne heads into suburbia to see if it’s all true, he gets used as a puck by kids playing street hockey.
The movie also features The Daily Show’s Steve Carrell as the voice of Sammy the Squirrel and The West Wing’s Allison Janney as the voice of Gladys, the human head of the homeowners’ association.
Best in Show’s Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy voice porcupine parents to three little ones who all have Fargo-esque accents and attitudes. Wanda Sykes plays Stella the Skunk, and Nick Nolte voices Vincent the Bear.
“Nolte asked us with his gravelly voice, ‘What makes you think I can play a bear?'” Johnson said. “And Bruce [Willis] is fantastic as this raccoon who was practically raised by humans and is kind of a Harold Hill, Music Man huckster.”
To accommodate their comic cast, Johnson and co-director Karey Kirkpatrick threw in many more gags and funny lines than the animators originally planned, especially with the latest addition to the cast, Sideways’s Thomas Haden Church as the Verminator, who gets called in by Gladys to get the animals out of the neighborhood.
“Each character gets their moment in the sun with R.J., until the Verminator gets called in, and he is a threat to them all,” Johnson said. Over the Hedge is expected out on May 19, 2006.