“Blazing Samurai,” a new animated family comedy from Mass Animation, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation, Flying Tigers Entertainment, and GFM Films has cast Samuel L. Jackson, Djimon Hounsou, Michelle Yeoh, Sandra Tsing Loh, Mel B., Michael Cera, Mel Brooks along with George Takei, Gabriel Iglesias, Aasif Mandvi, and introducing Heavenly Joy Jerkins.
“Blazing Samurai” is an action-packed animated comedy about a scrappy dreamer of a dog named Hank (voiced by Michael Cera) who longs to become a great warrior and fights to save the town of Kakamucho from becoming the litter box of a nefarious feline warlord, transforming society and himself on his quest to become a true samurai.
The film is inspired by and an homage to Mel Brooks’ timeless, hilarious classic “Blazing Saddles.”
Samuel L. Jackson is set to voice Jimdo, a cat who once was a great warrior who now lives life hitting the catnip a bit too hard. Despite his addled state, Jimbo reluctantly takes lovable mutt Hank under his wing and teaches him the cunning, courageous and warrior-like ways of the samurai. Forging an unusual friendship between a cat and a dog, the two set off on a wild and hilarious journey to save the town of Kakamucho whilst at the same time learning what it means to be a true, great samurai.
Mel Brooks is the voice of the Shogun, the misguided but benevolent leader. George Takei will lend his inimitable baritone voice to Ohga, the villain’s enforcer. Djimon Hounsou voices Sumo, the gentle giant. Aasif Mandvi and Gabriel Iglesias will star as Ichiro and Chuck, Kakamucho’s Laurel and Hardy towncats, with Sandra Tsing Loh as Little Mama, Kakamucho’s cranky grande dame.
Introducing 5 year-old “America’s Got Talent sensation,” Heavenly Joy Jerkins, as Emiko, the feisty kitten who is a natural warrior, with Michelle Yeoh voicing Yuki, Emiko’s over-protective mom. And Mel B serves up a cameo as The Giraffe, who sees herself as a cat.
“We’ve assembled some extraordinarily strong comedic talent for the cast of this fresh, fun and irreverent animated family film,” said Minkoff. “From the artistic ambition to the East meets West style of story-telling, everyone involved in creating Blazing Samurai is having a blast.”
“Throughout the recording sessions from Mel Brooks to Mel B, this cast has not only met the humor, but raised the level of comedy and heart in this unique homage to Blazing Saddles,” said Landau. “Ed and Nate delivered a first-rate script in Blazing Samurai, a story about cats and dogs getting along that will appeal to everyone whether they’ve seen the original comedy classic or not.”
“When I first read Blazing Samurai,it bounced me back to my first experience of the joy of animated films,” said Michael Ryan, partner at GFM Films. “It’s clever, it’s hilariously funny, and it has pathos. I think that is why we have such great actors joining the cast. It’s such a great piece of writing. We are thrilled with the way our partners have already embraced this film and look forward to sharing more at AFM during our special presentation on Wednesday.”
“There is no business like Shogun business,” said Mel Brooks. “And what is wonderful about the film is that it is going to have great appeal not only for kids, but their parents too. It’s funny and smart.”
Earlier this year, Open Road Films acquired U.S. distribution rights for the film. Filmmakers and talent, including Minkoff, Landau andMel Brooks, will showcase footage and visual development from the forthcoming film during the special AFM presentation this month.
Early development and pre-production funding was provided by GFM Films with Mass Animation through Blazing Productions Ltd, a UK-based production company with equity funding through White & Co. and Ober Wealth Management.
Arc Productions, one of the world’s leading CG animation and visual effects studios, is the lead animation house on the film.