The Hobbit star Martin Freeman begins voice work this week on Saving Santa, a new animated feature from UK actor/producers Terry Stone and Nick Simunek of Gateway Animation Studios. The pair are producing the £5 million picture with Saving Santa creator Tony Nottage. Veteran animation exec Max Howard is executive producer, and I hear the team is currently in negotiations with a Hollywood major on a distribution pact. Animator Leon Joosen, whose credits include The Little Mermaid and the Scooby Doo movies, is directing the Back To The Future meets classic Christmas tale about a clumsy elf who must travel back in time to save Santa’s Kingdom from the evil Neville Baddington. Ricky Roxburgh wrote the screenplay. The all-Brit cast is rounded out by Tim Curry, Noel Clarke, Joan Collins, Pam Ferris, Craig Fairbrass and Chris Barrie. Delivery is expected in time for Christmas 2012.

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