Elijah Lends his Voice to grammaboodawg sends in this detailed look at Elijah Wood’s latest, “9”: Elijah Wood is lending his voice to an animated film called 9 (simply the number nine). The story is about a post-apocalyptic nightmare in which all of humanity is threatened. [imdb quote] Other cast members voicing along with Elijah are Jennifer Connelly, John C. Reilly, Crispin Glover (Back to the Future/Willard), Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau. One of the producers is Tim Burton, along with Timur Bekmambetov, Dana Ginsburg, Jim Lemley, and Marci Levine.

This is an adaptation of a 10 ½ minute short film by the same name from Director/Writer/Creator, Shane Acker, which took 4 ½ years to complete. There is no dialogue in the short, just some intriguing sound effects and music that accentuates the incredible visuals of the film. Fans of the original short are concerned about the intrusion of voices and dialogue for their beloved ragdolls characters; however, the author is excited about the evolution of his filmic world. Acker discusses his thoughts about having his short film adapted into a feature-length (3D) film in this interview with FRAMESPERSECOND on September 29th, 2005.

It just so happens Acker worked for Weta Digital as a character animator on Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003. Acker was hired after using clips from the unfinished 9 as a demo reel (just as Peter Jackson used demo footage from LotR to impress New Line). His work included character animation on battle Trolls, Fellbeast, dragons, Mumakils, the Witch-king, the eye of Sauron, the collapsing siege towers, and dying horse riders (according to his resume). He talks about his experience working at Weta in an AnimationTrip.com interview.

In 2005, Acker won several awards for 9:

-Best of Show by SIGGRAPH (short for an annual CG conference called – Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques [Wikipedia])
-Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards
-1st place Non-Traditional Animation in the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation College Awards
-Grand Jury Award for Best Animated Short at the Florida Film Festival
-2nd place Festival Favorite at the Philadelphia Film Festival
-Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Animation at the Indianapolis International Film Festival
-Best Animated Short Film at Newport Beach Film Festival
-1st prize for 3D Character Animation Award at the Animex International Festival of Animation
-Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short Film at the 78th Academy Awards in 2005

Filmed in Luxembourg, Germany, 9 is scheduled for U.S. release is scheduled for December 26, 2008. According to Shane Acker’s website, 9 will be screened at these theatres during this week:

-Oscar Shorts Screening: Friday Feb 24th 7:30 pm at the Aero Theater Santa Monica, Los Angeles
-“Shorts” Screening: Tuesday Feb 25th 12 pm and 4 pm at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International, New York
-“Shorts” Screening: Tuesday Feb 28th 7:30 pm at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills where Acker will be availble for Q&A afterwards.

[Acker’s Website]

For those who can’t not make it to the viewings, it can also be found on youtube.