Sandusky grad gives animation to 'Antz'
Friday, October 2, 1998 By KRISTOPHER BARRY WEISS
Staff Writer- The Sandusky Register (Ohio)
When "Antz" opens in theaters across the country today, Chad Greene will be watching. But unlike most moviegoers, he won't be looking only at the work of others. The 1988 Sandusky High School graduate will be looking at his work and that of his colleagues at Pacific Data Images, Palo Alto, Calif. Greene joined PDI in 1997 and has been working on "Antz," a DreamWorks creation, ever since. As part of the lighting crew, Greene was charged with creating different times of day, weather conditions and moods in what is just the second fully computer-animated film in history after "Toy Story." The film follows Z, a neurotic worker ant with the voice of Woody Allen, as he struggles against the conformist nature of the colony and strives to win the love of Princess Bala, a recalcitrant royal voiced by Sharon Stone, whom he meets in a bar. A host of other big-name actors -- Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Gene Hackman and Sylvester Stallone among them -- lend their voices to the film. Greene went to the San Francisco premiere of "Antz" last week and liked what he saw. "It was unbelievable," Greene said in a telephone interview from his office. "It's amazing to work on a film for two years and see it (only) in bits and pieces. I was blown away. It was amazing to be part of it."
But Greene's work is never done. Having just signed a four-year contract extension with PDI, he's got three more projects on his plate, the first of which is a "Simpsons" IMAX film that Greene says will be featured at Cedar Point next summer. Next up is the computer-animation film "Shrek," the tale of a medieval ogre played by Michael Myers and his enchanted donkey who sounds suspiciously like Eddie Murphy. John Lithgow and Cameron Diaz also provide voices for the movie, which Greene said is slated for release in late 2000. Greene said he is not at liberty to talk about the third movie PDI is working on.
Greene has wanted to do this type of work since he first stumbled upon computer animation while in high school. So he went to Bowling Green State University and walked away in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts and eventually landed with PDI, which was founded in 1980 to produce broadcast animation. "Making it to PDI is like making it in the big leagues," Greene said. "It was always my goal to get to a place like this and work on a computer-generated film."