There is a new rule in Hollywood that John Goodman must voice a character in your animated movie. The big-boned actor supplements supporting film parts and failed television series with pretty steady work using his highly recognizable voice. After appearing in Monster’s, Inc., Jungle Book 2, The Emperor’s New Groove, “Father of the Pride”, and the upcoming Bee Movie, Goodman’s vocal chords are still in good shape for a run at an icon of American folklore, Paul Bunyan.

Bunyan & Babe, a CG-animated film from Exodus Film Group, will star Goodman with comedienne Eddie Griffin as Babe the Blue Ox. There is no way that putting the slow white Goodman with the fast talking street-smart Griffin won’t spell hilarity, I’m sure. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Bunyan will join up with two kids to save Babe from the clutches of a demented circus owner (is their any other kind of circus owner?) The story will be set in modern day to allow for all those comical misunderstandings when folk heroes show up in the era of iPods and homicidal female astronauts.

Exodus films are typically distributed by the Weinstein Group and they already have the animated Igor with John Cusak, John Cleese, and Steve Buscemi on the schedule for 2008. Bunyan & Babe will be directed by first-timer Jim Rygiel, who won a few Oscars as the visual effects supervisor for those Lord of the Rings movies you may have heard of. The script was written by four people (never a good sign) but you can’t tell me Eddie Griffin and John Goodman aren’t funny. Well, you can and I’d agree, but they are coming to a theater in the far future anyway.

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