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Mel Brooks signs on for Blazing Saddles inspired animated feature

Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Cera also join ‘Blazing Samurai’

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Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Cera, and Mel Brooks will lend their voices to the upcoming animated movie, Blazing Samurai, inspired by Brooks’ comedy classic, Blazing Saddles.

The family-friendly film is set in a west pitting cats against dogs. Cera will star as a young mutt named Hank, who longs to become a legendary samurai and save the town of Kakamucho from “becoming the litter box of a nefarious feline warlord.” Jackson will voice Jimbo, a formerly great feline warrior “who now lives life hitting the catnip a bit too hard” and must now team up with Hank to teach him how to become a samurai. Brooks voices the Shogun, a misguided but benevolent leader.

“There is no business like Shogun business,” Brooks said in a release. “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.”

The voice cast also includes George Takei as Ohga, the villain’s enforcer, and Djimon Hounsou as Sumo, a gentle giant. Aasif Mandvi and Gabriel Iglesias voice Ichiro and Chuck, two Laurel-and-Hardy-style cats, with Sandra Tsing Loh and Michelle Yeoh rounding out the cast. Mel B is also set to cameo as “The Giraffe,” and 5-year-old Heavenly Joy Jerkins from America’s Got Talent will make her film debut as a kitten warrior named Emiko.

Chris Bailey (Alvin and the Chipmunks) and Mark Koetsier (Kung Fu Panda) are directing from a screenplay by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper. Lion King director Rob Minkoff is producing with Yair Laundau and Susan Purcell, with Brooks, Reginald Hudlin, and Pietro Ventani serving as executive producers.

“We’ve assembled some extraordinarily strong comedic talent for the cast of this fresh, fun and irreverent animated family film,” Minkoff said. “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.”

Blazing Samurai, which was acquired by Open Road Films earlier this year, will hit theaters on Aug. 4, 2017. 

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