EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of a huge week for their Adam Sandler-led Netflix animated feature Leo, co-directed with Robert Smigel, David Wachtenheim and Robert Marianetti have signed with Independent Artist Group for representation.
A musical comedy also featuring voice work from Bill Burr, Cecily Strong and more, Leo tells the story of an elderly lizard of the same name, who plots an escape from his longtime home within a Florida school classroom terrarium, alongside a turtle friend. Now laying claim to the biggest ever debut for a Netflix animated feature, the film bowed at the top of the English films list for the week of November 20 to 26 with 34.6 million views.
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A pair of writer-directors known for their specialty in animation, Wachtenheim and Marianetti first came to work with Sandler and his Happy Madison banner when they were were hired as Heads of Story on Hotel Transylvania 2. The pair are longtime creative partners in W/M Animation, a full-service animation company based in New York. Best known for creating, writing and directing over nine seasons of Smigel’s Saturday TV Funhouse for Saturday Night Live, their other credits include serving as creative directors and producers on the Comedy Central cult classic TV Funhouse, the Fox TV/Happy Madison pilot Animals, the pilot and series run of Stroker & Hoop, the pilot for the FX series The Cops starring Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks, and the pilot of Soul Quest Overdrive for Adult Swim.
Though best known for their comedy, Wachtenheim and Marianetti also received critical acclaim for directing My Depression (The Up and Down and Up of it), a half-hour, animated musical for HBO, based on the picture book by Broadway writer-composer Elizabeth Swados, who penned the script with the duo. Wachtenheim also teamed with Swados to co-write songs for the pic, produced for HBO by Sheila Nevins.
The W/M Animation partners continue to be represented by Joshua Radis of Nelson Davis.