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WIRE Buzz: Ridley & Fry join The Inventor; Katzenberg on Quibi's slow start; Close Enough trailer

By Josh Weiss
Daisy Ridley & Stephen Fry

Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) and Stephen Fry (Sherlock Holmes) are lending their voices to The Inventor, a stop-motion film about Leonardo da Vinci written and directed by Ratatouille scribe Jim Capobianco. Deadline has confirmed that Fry will play the famous Italian artist/inventor of the Renaissance era, while Ridley takes up the role of French Princess Marguerite.

The story kicks off when da Vinci heads to the French court "where he can experiment freely, inventing flying contraptions, incredible machines, and studying the human body," reads the synopsis provided by Deadline. While there, he and the princess try to solve the meaning of all existence.

Here's the first look at the project's aesthetic:

Capobianco is producing alongside Robert Rippberger (Strive) and seasoned Disney vet Don Hahn (The Lion King, Atlantis: The Lost Empire). Peter Sorg (Coraline) is on cinematography duty; Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells) is handling the hand-drawn sequences; and Alex Mandel (Brave) is composing the film's music.

The Exchange and France's mk2 films are overseeing U.S. and worldwide distribution, respectively.

"We are making this film for children and the child in many adults. It has action, adventure, beauty and humor. We hope it will spark curiosity in its young audience and inspire girls and boys to become the Leonardo's of the 21st century," Capobianco and Rippberger said in a statement to Deadline.

"To this day Leonardo Da Vinci's brilliance is a global inspiration for young and old alike. Having his story told through Jim's brilliant eyes for a family audience, gives this project unique North-American breakout value," added Brian O'Shea of The Exchange.

Quibi is hoping to rally in the latter half of 2020 after its launch in early April was negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. During a SeriesFest chat with Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries, Jeffrey Katzenberg reportedly described the last few months as "almost a beta [period]" for his short-form storytelling platform.

"In nine weeks, we have actually now seen so many aspects of the content, about what is working for them, what is most appealing to them, where our weaknesses are," said the DreamWorks founder. "All of that is being retooled as we talk here right now. We're leaning in twice as hard on things that are working the best and leaning away from the things that are not."

Quibi logo

As states begin to slowly reopen, Katzenberg hopes that work commutes and waiting/social distancing in line (for services like haircuts, restaurant dining, and dry cleaning) will drive up downloads and subscriptions. Since Quibi went live, it's only been downloaded 4.5 million times, and active subscribers total less than 2 million.

"I hope Quibi is going to be there to fill those in-between moments," he added.

The app is made of original TV content whose episodes are told in 10 minutes or less.

Veena Sud's The Stranger, Sam Raimi's 50 States of Fright, and Catherine Hardwicke's Don't Look Deeper are just a few of the platform's genre offerings.

(via Deadline)

Raising a 5-year-old kid is hard enough, but add in stripper clowns, time-traveling snails, and murderous mannequins, and the job becomes borderline impossible.

Close Enough, a new animated comedy series coming to HBO Max next month, pairs the relatable trials of childrearing with all those strange things we just listed. The series' surreal nature is nothing new for creator J.G. Quintel, the unique mind behind Regular Show on Cartoon Network.

In his new venture, Quintel voices Josh, a 30-something bringing up a young daughter (Jessica DiCicco) with his wife Emily (Gabrielle Walsh). The family also happens to be occupying the same East Los Angeles apartment as Josh and Emily's divorced best friends, Alex (Jason Mantzoukas) and Bridgette (Kimiko Glenn). The building is owned by retired LAPD officer Pearle and managed by her shirtless adopted son Randy.

Watch the official trailer now:

Produced by Cartoon Network Studios, Close Enough premieres on HBO Max Thursday, July 9. Get more info here.