Surf's Up and Open Season: According to Variety, Lion King director Roger Allers has joined the directing team of Sony Pictures Animation's upcoming animated feature Open Season, and Steve Bencich and Ron J. Friedman have come on board as writers.

In addition, scribes Lisa Addario and Joey Syracuse have been hired to write Surf's Up, the studio's second animated feature about surfing penguins.

Open Season, which features the voices of Martin Lawrence and Ashton Kutcher, is a buddy comedy about a happily domesticated 900-pound grizzly bear named Boog (Lawrence), who has his comfortable world turned upside down when he meets a fast-talking wild mule deer named Elliot (Kutcher).

The pic is based on the humor of cartoonist Steve Moore ("In the Bleachers") and is directed by Jull Culton and Allers, and co-directed by Anthony Stacchi.

Allers made his directing debut with Disney's acclaimed feature Lion King. He also wrote the book for the Broadway musical version of the film, with writing partner Irene Mecchi.

The doc-style feature Surf's Up is based on the theory that surfing was invented by penguins. The central character, Cody, is a small Rockhopper penguin who dreams of finding fame and fortune on the Penguin World Surfing Championship.

Brian B.