It seems Rihanna isn’t going to let one leaky blockbuster sink her fledgling acting career. Today comes word that the pop singer will join with Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) to star in DreamWorks Animation’s Happy Smekday!. It’s an adaptation of Adam Rex’s children book The True Meaning of Smekday, which finds a group of aliens invading earth on Christmas Eve (renaming the holiday “Smekday”) after being booted from their own planet by a villainous race called the Gorg. The story takes the form of an essay written by main character Tip, an 11-year-old human who travels cross-country with the alien that inadvertently put Earth on the Gorg’s radar. It will be helmed by Antz co-director Tim Johnson. Hit the jump for more.
Per Heat Vision, DreamWorks is eyeing a late 2014 release; they first optioned the popular children’s book back in 2008. Get Smart writers Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember will script.
The animation giant most recently gave us Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, which has enjoyed its second week atop the North American box office. Their next is the very cool-looking Rise of the Guardians, coming this November. Before Happy Smekday!, they’ve got a bunch of in-development projects, including Turbo, Mr. Peabody and Sherman and How to Train Your Dragon 2, sprinkled over the next couple years. Smekday is among the most interesting things on their slate. The acclaimed source material sounds like some goofy fun and director Tim Johnson has been at the helm of two of the studio’s better efforts in Antz and Over the Hedge. Read a synopsis of Rex’s book below.
It all starts with a school essay.
When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. When her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended on the Earth and the aliens – called Boov – abducted her mother? Or when the Boov declared Earth a colony, renamed it “Smekland” (in honor of glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida via rocketpod?
In any case, Gratuity’s story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic named J.Lo.; a futile journey south to find Gratuity’s mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom; a cross-country road trip in a hovercar called Slushious; and an outrageous plan to save the Earth from yet another alien invasion.
Fully illustrated with “photos,” drawings, newspaper clippings, and comics sequences, this is a hilarious, perceptive, genre-bending novel by a remarkable new talent. [Amazon]