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Sneaks: What We Know So Far About The Star-Studded Animated Movie

"Sneaks" could end up being the next "Toy Story" if it plays its cards right. The upcoming animated feature doesn't have a release date yet, but a Variety report announcing new cast members revealed pre-production is well underway and is expected to be completed in 2024.

The film has been pulling in some major stars from all over the entertainment industry, and the project is being overseen by "The Matrix" star Laurence Fishburne, who is serving as an executive producer. According to Fishburne, "Sneaks" will be a love letter to the growing sneakerhead culture, especially among artists and athletes.

"Our film will illuminate and pay homage to the forever growing and popular sneaker culture that continues to inspire and be inspired by musicians, athletes, and artists alike," Fishburne said when announcing the film in late 2021 (via Deadline). Also working behind the scenes on "Sneaks" is Grammy-winning producer Mustard, who is overseeing the film's music.

The two producers already make "Sneaks" a high-profile project, but some other heavy hitters have joined the flick too. (The director may just be one of the writers who helped write one of your favorite Disney movies.) Here's everything we know so far about "Sneaks."

What is the plot of Sneaks?

Everything from cars ("Cars") to pets ("Secret Life of Pets") to toys ("Toy Story") to bugs ("A Bug's Life," "Bee Movie," etc.) have been anthropomorphized through animation, primarily thanks to studios like Pixar. It only makes sense that sneakers would inevitably join that list, especially considering what a giant business it is. The sneaker industry was worth about $80 billion in 2020 and experts predict it will hit $120 billion by 2026, per Fast Company. In other words, people love sneakers and there's money to be made, so Hollywood has come a-knocking.

"Sneaks" follows a one-of-a-kind, designer shoe named Ty. The shoe lives a sheltered life, that is until he and his sister Maxine are stolen. While trying to escape, Ty and Maxine are separated. Ty finds himself lost in the middle of Manhattan, surrounded by a bigger world than he's ever seen. That's the premise, according to GFM Animation, one of the companies behind the upcoming film.

Part of the story will of course include Ty interacting with a series of other sneakers, including Jordan, a sneaker a little more used to street life, but willing to help Ty in his quest to save his sister.

Who is starring in Sneaks?

"Sneaks" has a massive cast filled to the brim with stars. The most recent additions to the expansive voice cast are "The Falcon and Winter Soldier" star Anthony Mackie, comedian and "Bad Boys" star Martin Lawrence, and "Grown-ish" actress Chloe Bailey, according to a February 2023 announcement from Variety.

The rest of the cast is a mix of stars from multiple industries, including rapper Quavo and Olympic skateboarders Sky Brown and Rayssa Leal. Also in the cast are Keith David and Laurence Fishburne. The latter will be starring as The Collector, the thief who kidnaps Ty and kicks off the plot of the film. Other surprising additions to the movie are Grammy winners Roddy Ricch, Ella Mai, and Macy Gray, as well as the Grammy-nominated Swae Lee. NBA star Chris Paul, currently with the Phoenix Suns, is also in the cast, playing a version of himself putting on a massive event for sneakerheads, according to an October 2021 report from Deadline.

Also adding some prestige to the film are executive producers Robyn Klein and Jeremy Ross, previously behind the animated short "If Anything Happens I Love You," which won the Oscar for best animated short film in 2021.

Who is directing Sneaks?

"Sneaks" is being written and directed by Rob Edwards in what is his feature directorial debut. While Edwards may not have sat in the director's chair before, he's got plenty of animation experience, having written "The Princess and the Frog" and "Treasure Planet," both for Disney.

Before jumping into animation, Edwards was working as a writer for a number of popular shows, including "The Naked Truth," "Full House," and "A Different World." He also worked as a consultant on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and earned himself an Emmy nomination as a scribe on "In Living Color" in 1990.

Edwards' first directorial effort was 2022's "The Park Bench," a highly-acclaimed short film that follows a young girl named Bella who finds help from a duck — most people will recognize it from insurance commercials — after her father is diagnosed with sickle cell disease. The four-minute short may have been produced by an insurance company called Aflac, but "The Park Bench" played at a number of film festivals and even won best animated film (audience's choice) at the 2022 Sedona International Film Festival.