Elizabeth Banks Adds Virtual Reality to Her Talent Portfolio With “ASTEROIDS!”
As Voice of “Cheez” in Baobab Studios’ Newest VR Animation, Banks Helps VR Storytelling Go Mainstream
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Dec. 22nd, 2016 – Seamlessly moving across the mediums of television, film and animation, Emmy-nominated actor and director Elizabeth Banks is now expanding her voice-acting career into the cutting-edge realm of virtual reality.
In the highly-anticipated upcoming virtual reality animated film, “ASTEROIDS!” from Baobab Studios, Banks lends her charm and wit to the new world of virtual reality as “Cheez,” a loveable, kind-hearted animated alien. A Holiday Sneak Peek launches Dec. 22nd for Daydream and Samsung Gear and Oculus digital storefronts.
The full “ASTEROIDS!” VR animation will be unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and has been chosen as an “official selection.” In “ASTEROIDS!” you take on the role of a helper-bot alongside a pair of quirky aliens, Mac and Cheez, in a completely immersive story filled with humor, excitement and compassion. Joined by their other robot sidekick, Peas, you wait for a chance to prove your worth on a dangerous mission in deep outer space. The chance finally comes when the spaceship is endangered by teeth-gnashing space-bugs and careening asteroids. With the others up to their alien eyeballs in trouble, it’s your job to save the day!
“ASTEROIDS!” will be Baobab’s second VR animation and is the highly anticipated follow-up to “INVASION!”, the studio’s first VR animation and winner of top awards, from Tribeca to Cannes. Additionally, a feature-length film based on the “INVASION!” characters and story is slated to be developed by the esteemed Hollywood producing team, Roth/Kirschenbaum, known for “Alice in Wonderland”, “Maleficent” and their creative twists to classic family stories.
“Elizabeth’s voice brings the heart-warming and blissfully innocent character of Cheez fully alive in “ASTEROIDS!” as viewers don a VR headset and become part of the completely engrossing animated story,” explains Maureen Fan, CEO and co-founder, Baobab Studios. “This story employs a secret, decodable and very fun alien language that she has fully and enthusiastically embraced in the voice of Cheez.”
Directed by Baobab’s co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Eric Darnell, “ASTEROIDS!”, like “INVASION!” has a trademark and highly popular style, pulling the viewer further into the story and making them feel both physically and emotionally part of the storyline itself. Darnell is best known for his director and screenwriter talents on all four films in the DreamWorks’ Madagascar franchise, and in top roles for The Penguins of Madagascar and Antz.
In addition to Rift, Vive, PSVR, Gear VR and Daydream, the full episode of “INVASION!” is now available on Within, YouTube 360, Samsung VR, Jaunt VR, and Littlstar.
Baobab Studios Baobab Studios creates a sense of wonder for audiences of all ages through immersive VR storytelling experiences that inspire you to dream. Started in 2015 by industry leaders Maureen Fan and Eric Darnell, Baobab’s first project is the award-winning “INVASION!,” a top performing VR animation available on multiple VR platforms. “ASTEROIDS!” is the studio’s follow-up VR animation, with the full episode schedule for release in 2017. Baobab just completed Series B funding of $25M, bringing their total raised to $31M, making them one of the largest in independent VR studios today. Funding comes from: Comcast Ventures, HTC, Samsung, Advancit Capital, The Chernin Group, Freelands Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Twentieth Century Fox, Evolution Media Partners (backed by TPG Growth and CAA), China’s Shanghai Media Group, Youku Global Media Fund and LDV Partners, Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
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