Shane Acker seems eager to build a niche for himself as an animated horror film director for kids. And, well, good for him. The genre is bursting at the seams lately with films like ParaNorman and Frankenweenie both competing at this weekend's Oscar telecast. Acker was at the forefront of the modern movement with 9, an Academy Award-nominated short film about clockwork automatons fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and the animated feature 9, an adaptation of the original short, that was somewhat less well-received but kinda nifty in and of itself. Now he's got another one on his plate: Beasts of Burden, adapted from the Eisner Award-winning Dark Horse comic book series by Evan Dorkin (Milk and Cheese) and Jill Thompson (The Sandman).
The CGI-animated film, described as "currently untitled" by Deadline (maybe they're worried about getting rights issues from The Rolling Stones?), first came to our attention well over a year ago, when Jack the Giant Slayer screenwriter Darren Lemke and Shrek director Andrew Adamson were attached. Adamson is clearly off the project now that Shane Acker is on board. Beasts of Burden (or whatever it's going to be called) will be Acker's first feature film since 9 came out in 2009, funnily enough, the same year that District 9 and The Nine came out as well.
Beasts of Burden tells the story of a group of housepets, mostly dogs but a cat in there as well, who team up to protect their sleepy community of Burden Hill from supernatural monsters. The award-winning series combines adorability and genuine scares, and probably couldn't avoid a PG-13 rating if Lemke and Acker adapt it faithfully.