Big Bug Man: According to Variety, Brendan Fraser is negotiating to provide the voice of the title character in feature toon Big Bug Man, which has begun production at Studio-Free Studios, a new animation venture hatched by Bob Bendetson and Stuart Black.

Pic concerns a hapless guy who works for a crooked candy company and, in a mishap, gains the odd powers of a slew of insects that have bitten him.

In his final performance, Marlon Brando recorded a supporting role for the pic (Daily Variety, July 6).

The film is scripted by Bendetson and directed by Bendetson and Peter Shin. Bendetson has written for TV's The Simpsons.

Big Bug Man will be completed in late 2005.

The film will be the linchpin for a venture that Bendetson and Black hope will capitalize on the studios' abandonment of cel animation. The fixation on CGI films has left a wealth of animation talent available, and Studio-Free has been signing up veterans to draw the four animated films it has on its development slate. Company is also developing six live-action projects.

Studio-Free is negotiating with Shanghai Film Studios in China for equity financing and animation staffing. It has also established offices in West L.A. to house 60 workers.

Other projects include one that will be produced by "Simpsons" vet Mike Reiss, another by Kevin Anderson (Dune) and another by Bendetson, who has been writing sitcoms for more than 20 years.

Black is a 26-year veteran of commercials and videos.

Brian B.