Jacki Weaver, Noah Taylor and Miriam Margolyes will lend their voices to Maya the Bee Movie, the first 3D animated feature from Flying Bark Productions.
Directed by Alexs Stadermann, the German/Australian co-production is based on the animated TV series inspired by the book The Adventures of Maya the Bee by Waldemar Bonsels, first published in 1912.
The screenplay by Fin Edquist follows the adventures of Maya, a little bee with a big personality, and the fellow denizens of her hive amid the long-standing conflict between bees and hornets.
Margolyes (Blackadder, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) voices the Queen. Weaver is voicing Buzzlina Von Beena, the hive's royal advisor, who hatches a plan to overthrow the Queen and drive out an invasion of hornets.
Taylor impersonates Crawley, Buzzlina's bumbling, nervous but loyal assistant who wrestles with his conscience when he learns of the plot. Casting of the roles of Maya and her best friend Willi is yet to be announced.
Screen Australia and Screen NSW are investing in the project, a co-production with Germany’s Studio 100 Media and Buzz Studios, which is 35% owned by Flying Bark, which is providing finance and facilities for the production. Barbara Stephen is the producer and Alexia Gates-Foale is line producer. Flying Bark MD Jim Ballantine is executive producer.
Stadermann was the unit director on Disney's Bambi II and Tarzan II and supervising animator on Lion King 1½ . He also directed two seasons of Aardman Animation's Planet Sketch and was part of the director’s unit on Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.
Studio 100, Flying Bark’s parent company, has presold the film to Universum Film for German-speaking territories and to distributors in Poland, the former Yugoslavia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Israel, Turkey and the Middle East.