By Drew Taylor | The Playlist August 6, 2013 at 3:32PM
DreamWorks Animation is hard at work filling out the voice casts for two of its upcoming animated features with big name stars joining the ranks of both "B.O.O. (Bureau Of Otherworldly Operations)" and "Penguins of Madagascar." In two separate scoops, The Wrap reports that Matt Bomer and Rashida Jones will join Seth Rogen and Melissa McCarthy in 'B.O.O.' while John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch will become part of "Penguins of Madagascar," an offshoot of the bizarrely popular "Madagascar" franchise. DreamWorks Animation has always had a history of casting insanely popular, of-the-moment stars in its animated features, and these decisions seem to reinforce that.
In 'B.O.O.,' Rogen (according to The Wrap), "stars as a new ghost named Jackson Moss who works as an agent at B.O.O., a top-secret government agency that protects humans from evil hauntings. When he and his partner Watts (McCarthy) uncover a plot to destroy B.O.O., they must use their skills to defeat the agency's Most Wanted Haunter and his powerful ghost army, and save the world." Sounds needlessly convoluted! According to the same report, "Jones will play Rogen's ex-wife, while Bomer will play her new husband, who's the perfect step-dad to Rogen's son."
The movie will be directed by Anthony Leonidis, whose previous film "Igor" set the world record for number of S&M jokes in a movie supposedly made for children, from a script by Tom Wheeler, who wrote the under-appreciated "Puss in Boots" for DreamWorks Animation. Bomer has roles coming up in both "A Winter's Tale" and "A Normal Heart," while it has recently been announced that Jones will be leaving "Parks and Recreation" in the middle of next season.
As for "Penguins of Madagascar," which has already been spun off (with the same title) as a popular Nickelodeon TV series as well as a direct-to-video special, will be directed by Simon J. Smith, whose previous film "Bee Movie" set the world record for number of neurotic Jewish jokes in a movie supposedly made for children. The movie will feature a script by Michael Colton and John Aboud, while original "Madagascar" masterminds Mireille Soria, Tom McGrath, and Eric Darnell, will serve as executive producers. According to The Wrap report, Malkovich will play the villain (shocker!) while Cumberbatch will be a "high-ranking animal CIA agent." Er, okay.
Cumberbatch will soon be heard in dual roles in Peter Jackson's upcoming "Hobbit" sequels, and be seen (and heard!) in a trio of starry, Oscar bait-y dramas: TIFF opener "The Fifth Estate" (where he plays Julian Assange), historical drama "12 Years A Slave," and high profile Broadway adaptation "August: Osage County." Malkovich, meanwhile, can currently be seen, for what it's worth, in "Red 2."
"The Penguins of Madagascar" is currently scheduled for a March 27th 2015 release date while "B.O.O. (Bureau of Otherworldly Operations)" spooks theaters nationwide on June 5th 2015.