Lisa Henson Gives a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Unstable Fables: “Tortoise Vs. Hare”

The race is on again for famous contenders Wally the Tortoise and Murray the Hare when UNSTABLE FABLES: TORTOISE VS. HARE, dashes onto DVD for the first time September 9 from The Weinstein Company and  Genius Products. Created by the revered Jim Henson Company, Prana Animation Studios and Flame Ventures, the second CGI animated film in the irreverent and delightful “Unstable Fables” collection, TORTOISE VS. HARE is a fun, modern retelling of the classic Tortoise and the Hare story.Clever and quick-witted, UNSTABLE FABLES: TORTOISE VS. HARE boasts edgy humor that appeals to adults and children alike. It’s been 15 years since the illustrious race between Walter the Tortoise (Glover) and Murray the Hare (Leno) but the passing of time hasn’t tempered their bitter rivalry.  When they hear about the upcoming Mt. Impossible Nature Adventure Race, they can’t resist the opportunity to challenge each other to a rematch! This time they enlist their children to be their teammates, but the kids don’t share their parents’ competitive nature. When Walter and Murray get separated from their kids, the two dads must team up to find them and learn there are far more important matters than winning a race!Sure to be a family-favorite with the humor and heart that The Jim Henson Company is known for, UNSTABLE FABLES: TORTOISE VS. HARE features a celebrity cast including the voice talent of Emmy Award® winner* Jay Leno (Ice Age 2), Danny Glover (Dreamgirls), Vivica A. Fox (Ella Enchanted), Keke Palmer (Jump In!, Akeelah And The Bee) and three-time winner of  Kid’s Choice Award for Best Actor, Drake Bell (Superhero Movie, “Drake and Josh”).According to Lisa Henson, co-chief executive officer of The Jim Henson Company, the creators of Unstable Fables goal was to create a bookshelf series of unique versions of fairy tales. They endeavored to portray loose adaptations of the stories, showing the characters in modern ways. Above all, the tales were made to get audiences laughing and, based on the group of children I watched the film with, the creators met their goal.“Why did they decide to use animation instead of your trademark puppetry?” I asked Henson. The answer is that the Henson company  is taking interest in 3-D animation and perhaps 2-D animation in the future.Henson has two children ages ten and eight who are already quite media savvy. She shares KIDS FIRST! values and the goal of providing quality entertainment for the kids. She also educates her children so they are media savvy and are informed viewers. Like many parents, Henson is concerned about what her kids watch, and she creates films such as TORTOISE VS. HARE with this criteria in mind. The Unstable Fables have a pro-family feel and use humor to engage children as well as adults. Her own children approved the film, especially since it starred some of their favorite actors (Keke Plamer and Drake Bell).As a producer, Henson was surprised at how well kids reacted to TV stars. According to her research, kids are much more likely to enjoy a film because of its TV stars than a film starring the voice of a movie star. In this series of Unstable Fables, they used stars kids could identify for the kids’ voices and stars parents enjoy for the adult voices to create all-age appeal.TORTOISE VS. HARE started out with a storyline very different from the final product. It didn’t have kids, and there was a lot more intrigue. Henson pointed out that when they began producing, they quickly realized that the series needed children in the stories. Families are a main focus with parents and children together. She also points out that she loves the new character designs, “Howard Baker did a really great job of developing an unstable way of finding characters—upbeat; cute, but not over-cute; modern—especially the tortoise with its jewel-encrusted shell.If you want a good laugh from a great story with superb visuals, check out TORTOISE VS. HARE, now on your store shelves. Fans of the series will also be pleased to know that the next Unstable Fable, GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS hits the shelves later this year. What will the three bears do when Goldilocks moves in with them in a reality TV situation similar to “The Simple Life”?

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