Smit-McPhee, Roxburgh and Clarke all abuzz for Maya the Bee Movie


Aussies Kodi Smit-McPhee (“Paranorman”), Richard Roxburgh (“Sanctum”) and Justine Clarke (“Time of our Lives”) have joined the already impressive cast of animated flick “Maya the Bee Movie”.

The movie, which has already attracted the likes of Jacki Weaver, Noah Taylor and Miriam Margolyes, is Flying Bark Productions’ first ever animated theatrical stereoscopic release.

The feature length animation will introduce audiences to the adorable Coco Jack Gillies, who will voice Maya the Bee and will also be joined by Andy McPhee and Joel Franco in the theatrical release.

With acting credits including “Moulin Rouge!”, “Van Helsing”, “Mission: Impossible II” and the acclaimed ABC television series “Rake”, Richard Roxburgh voices Flip, a warm-hearted grasshopper and vagabond musician. He sees the spark in Maya and will help her realise her dream, to live a life with less rules.

Known for his impressive work in “Romulus, My Father”, “ParaNorman”, “The Road” with Viggo Mortensen and recently named for the upcoming “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “Slow West”, Kodi Smit-McPhee is the voice of Maya’s best friend, Willi. A devoted side-kick and a natural goofball, Willi is certainly not the sharpest buzzer in the hive. His caution is a useful counterpoint to Maya’s impulsive nature. Willi is the only bee who can make her reconsider her decisions. He is sensitive with a big heart and wants nothing more than to hang out with his best friend in the hive, enjoying the finer things in life like pollen and staying clear of any kind of danger. Unfortunately for Willi, his best friend has other ideas.

Justine Clarke, an undoubted favourite with parents and children alike, is known for her work in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”, “Home and Away” and most importantly, “Play School”. She joins the cast as Miss Cassandra, a teacher bee who helps Maya adjust to the strict rule-driven life in the hive.

Coco Jack Gillies is the movie’s animated star as the voice of Maya. A little bee with a big personality, Maya is born into a well-ordered society of worker bees and dreams of an exciting life of freedom, fun and adventure. After she discovers the vastness and wonder of the meadow with Flip, Maya is determined to find a way to live with more diversity. The world is simply far too interesting to stay inside the hive. Maya isn’t like other bees! A non-conformist by nature, Maya is kind, exuberant, enthusiastic and above all, curious. Maya’s sense of wonder and charm give her an irresistible energy that soon wins over her staunchest of critics and inspires other bees to live a more joyful life.

Andy McPhee (Kodi Smit-McPhee’s father) will voice the character of Hank. Andy has featured in many Australian and international movie and TV dramas including “Sons of Anarchy”, “Wolf Creek”, “Animal Kingdom” and “December Boys”. Hank is the leader of the hornets, who are the meadow-dwelling rivals of the bees.
Hank’s adorable son, Sting (played by Joel Franco) catches up with Maya during her time in the meadow. His seemingly tough exterior and prejudice toward bees is quickly broken down when Sting finds a fun friend and fellow adventurer in Maya.

“Today’s announcement of Richard Roxburgh, Justine Clarke, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Coco Jack Gillies, Andy McPhee and Joel Franco to the casting of Maya the Bee Movie adds to the already distinguished list of Jacki Weaver, Noah Taylor and Miriam Margolyes. We are thrilled to have an impressive cast list for our first ever animated theatrical stereoscopic release and are very much looking forward to seeing Maya the Bee Movie on the big screen” said Flying Bark Productions’ Managing Director and Executive Producer, Jim Ballantine.

Set against the backdrop of a longstanding conflict between bees and hornets, Maya is born into a world of order and rules. Her hilariously awkward attempts to fit in and “be a bee” immediately bring her into trouble with the narrow minded Buzzlina. When Maya stumbles onto Buzzlina’s plot to steal the Queen’s royal jelly and blame it on the hornets, the sly Advisor manipulates Maya into leaving the hive. With her best friend Willi tagging along, Maya buzzes out into the meadow on an exhilarating adventure of self-discovery. Where does she fit in? And how will she find a way to defeat the Royal Advisor and prevent a nasty battle between the bees and hornets?
The movie will be directed by Alexs Stadermann with Barbara Stephen as Producer and Alexia Gates-Foale as Line Producer.

Production of the film was announced late last year during a special afternoon reception at Flying Bark Productions for His Royal Highness Prince Philippe of Belgium who was in Australia in the framework of a Belgian Economic Mission.

Recently, Flying Bark Productions announced the film had received funding from both Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

Maya the Bee Movie will bring together the experience and knowledge of outstanding Australian and European creative talent on the first ever animated feature to be produced as an official treaty co-production between Australia and Germany.

The original Maya the Bee television series was first produced in the 1970s and was an imaginative blend of fun-filled and thrilling adventures that gained Maya loyal fans from all corners of the globe.

Today a new generation of fans enjoy the tales of Maya the Bee with the CG television series already seen in many European countries as well as on ABC TV in Australia.