Thursday, October 22, 2009

News - 10/22/09...

More tickets for The Iron Giant 10-year reunion

Last week we posted about Asifa-Hollywood’s Iron Giant 10-Year Reunion. It sold out within 24 hours.

Now, a limited number of additional tickets are available for the reunion, because the event has been moved from Woodbury University to the Stephen J. Ross Theater on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank - a much larger venue.

Here’s what you do if you want to attend: send an email to with the number of guests and your guests’ names. You will then be given further instructions via email on purchasing tickets. Tickets are $10 for ASIFA-Hollywood members and $15 for non-members. Tickets are non-refundable.

The Iron Giant reunion is this Friday, October 23rd, at 7:30pm. Among the many artists expected is writer and director Brad Bird, background artist Anne Guenther, art director Alan Bodner, lead animator Steve Markowski, and artistic coordinator Scott Johnston. The panel will be moderated by animator Tom Sito.

Ticket holders are required to park in the Franklin parking structure, located at 4301 W. Olive Ave, Burbank, which is across the street from the Warner Bros. Studio Lot. At the parking structure, guests will be given an entrance pass, then directed across the street to Gate 2 for entrance onto the studio lot, and then to the theater. You must purchase tickets ahead of time to be included on the guest list, as Warner Bros. studio security requires a list of every person attending. In addition, all guests are required to show a valid government photo ID, in order to be admitted into the parking structure and onto the studio lot.

Due to the large turnout to this event, guests are advised you to arrive no later than 7:00 p.m., to insure that they have enough time to park and get to the theater before the program begins. Seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information, visit

(Thanks cartoon brew)

Tom pencil test (Tom & Jerry)

I haven't posted a classic pencil test in a while. Here for your inspiration is a scene from Hanna Barbera's MGM Tom & Jerry cartoons. Not sure which of the regular T & J animators did this scene : Irv Spence, Ed Barge, Ken Muse, Ray Patterson. (or another ?) Enjoy.

(Thanks David Nethery)

Behind the Scenes at Disney's Talent Development Program

“You learn something from every production that you’re on, even if it’s, you know, a commercial that lasts three weeks. You learn something from it.”

All of our AAU Online animation students should be interested to hear this podcast interview with young animation artists who have recently gone through the Disney Animation Talent Development Program and are now working on production at Disney:

Listen to an exclusive interview as Clay Kaytis, Disney animator and creator of the Animation Podcast, talks to five young artists from Walt Disney Animation Studios.

These animators share their educational experience, what it's like to be mentored, and their journey toward becoming members of the crew with a voice in the process of creating animated films.

To hear the podcast, go to:

Disney Talent Development Program alumni on the Animation Podcast

Check out the other great animation podcasts on the site with great animators such as Dale Baer, Eric Goldberg, Nik Ranieri, Glen Keane, etc.

(Thanks David Nethery)

Tintin is Peter Jackson and Spielberg's dream movie

We love Steven Spielberg, so when we heard that he wants to adapt Tintin, the beloved Belgian comic strip by Herge, we were intrigued.

Tintin isn't a household name in the U.S., but it's been hugely popular in the rest of the world for 80 years. Basically it's about the adventures of a young Belgian reporter (Jamie Bell) and his faithful fox terrier Milou (that's Snowy in English), and it spans genres from adventure to fantasy to mystery to science fiction, liberally dosed with humor.

The franchise has been Spielberg's dream project for decades, and the first of his planned Tintin films, Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, is now in production, with Spielberg directing. The movie is being made in 3-D motion-capture animation.

Spielberg may be credited as director, but he's not alone. Peter Jackson is producing the film with him. The film's co-star, Shaun of the Dead's Nick Frost, said that Jackson was always around to put his imprint on the film. That's potential for the best of Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings in the same movie! Add to that the creative minds behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, and we're in.

"They co-directed, so Peter was in the studio on iChat every day," Frost said in an exclusive interview over the weekend in London, where he was promoting Pirate Radio. "So we had a laptop with Peter's face on, and he had kind of two, three cameras pointed at the action and pointed at us, too, so we could actually talk to him via some link or hookup. So it was odd. It was quite weird."

Frost plays the film's Inspector Thomson, with his Shaun co-star and frequent collaborator Simon Pegg (Star Trek's Scotty) as Inspector Thompson with a P. Their characters even look alike.

Steven Spielberg on the set of the last Indiana Jones film

The casting of Frost and Pegg gives us hope that the Tintin movie will have room for grown-up humor. Their frequent partner, Shaun director Edgar Wright, even co-wrote the script. Frost confirmed that Tintin will work on two levels.

"I think it's that Simpsons thing that children will get one thing and adults will get the other," he said

Don't expect Hot Fuzz genre riffs though. Pegg and Frost said that they deferred to Spielberg and Jackson on Tintin. As uber-fanboys themselves, it's just a dream to be in a movie from not one, but two of the genre's heavyweights.

"Steven Spielberg, I think I'd probably come and clean the kitchen in his house just to hang around him," Frost said. "Peter as well. He was a really big advocate of Hot Fuzz. He really helped us out and hosted screenings and stuff down in New Zealand and was kind enough to let us hang out with him in the house. Just to actually be working with those people is such an eye-opener."

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn combines both of Herge's stories, "The Secret of the Unicorn" and "Red Rackham's Treasure." The 3-D animated feature is due Dec. 23, 2011.

`Toy Story' maker Lasseter earns producer prize

Animation pioneer and "Toy Story" creator John Lasseter is getting a career honor from the Producers Guild of America.

Lasseter is receiving the David O. Selznick Achievement Award at the guild's awards show Jan. 24. He's the first producer of animated films to receive the award.

Past recipients include Clint Eastwood, Jerry Bruckheimer, Stanley Kramer and Billy Wilder.

The Producers Guild says Lasseter's work with Pixar Animation and parent company Disney has raised the bar for animated and live-action filmmakers alike.

Lasseter directed 1995's "Toy Story," the first feature-length computer-animated movie, and "Toy Story 2," along with "A Bug's Life" and "Cars." He oversees animation at both Pixar and Disney.

Even Monkeys Shun the Uncanny Valley

Kevin points out an interesting study that might have something to say to animation producers.

Apparently, monkey's don't like the Uncanny Valley, either. As the study summary states,

In the experiments, the monkeys, which normally coo and smack their lips to engage each other, quickly avert their glances and are frightened when confronted by the close-to-real images. When asked to peer at the less close-to-real faces and real faces, however, they viewed them more often and for longer periods ...

The summary goes on:

Movie-goers may not be familiar with the term, but they understand that it is far easier to love the out-of-proportion cartoon figures in the “The Incredibles,” for example, than it is to embrace the more realistic-looking characters in “The Polar Express.”

Ah. Now I know why Snow White's Prince and the Fleischer's Gulliver make my skin crawl.

You can check out Kevin's full post on the study here.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

The Endless Tink

The L.A. Times interviews the directors of Disney's next c.g. feature -- Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure. (Okay, it's a dvd release, but it's still the next long-form cartoon, out at a retailer near your on October 27th.)

Klay Hall: It started when John Lasseter took over as the chief creative officer for [Walt Disney Feature Animation]. He sat down with myself and the rest of the directors and producers, and we talked about what this whole [Disney Fairies] world could bring to film. We landed on the idea to go with four stories based on the seasons.

Hall: [Tinkerbell's] original inspiration was the Blue Fairy. She went through several forms all the way up through Marc Davis' designs in the early ‘50s for the "Peter Pan" release in 1953. We started there, with the Marc Davis design, the classic Tink. Everyone’s familiar with the iconic figure from the theme parks. She’s on so many products in her little green skirt and pompoms on her shoes and a little bun in her hair. We felt it was important to not only embrace the classic Tink, but to give her a fresh look in these new films ...

The new flick was playing on one of the plasma screens when I strolled through a few days back. There's a couple of big, comical trolls in the movie. When I squinted at them and said "Trolls?", a staffer said.

"They don't want this just to be a little girls' movie, because that's the way the first one skewed. This time their broadening the franchise's appeal to boys with these non-fairy characters."

So here's hoping the trolls do the trick, and eight-year-old boys will put down their game devices and flock to this new installment. Word around Disney Toons is that the series could end up doing way more than five Tinkerbells.

All depends, I guess, on how the dvd sales hold up.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

Nick Acquires Rights for "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"; New TV Series and Movie

Nickelodeon has announced the acquisition of the global rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise from the Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment. A new CGI animated TV series has begun development, with a scheduled premiere date in 2012, and Nickelodeon has also partnered with corporate sibling Paramount Pictures to develop a Turtles feature film which is also slated for 2012. The lucrative merchandising rights are included in the deal as well, and Nickelodeon will continue to work with its long-standing partner Playmates Toys on new Turtles toys.

The full press release follows:


Nickelodeon to Develop New CG-Animated Television Series and Paramount Pictures to Develop Feature Film of Renowned Global Property

NEW YORK—Oct. 21, 2009—Furthering its mission to provide premium content to its audiences, Nickelodeon—part of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B)—has acquired the global rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from The Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE). The acquisition provides Nickelodeon, the world’s number-one entertainment brand for kids, global intellectual property rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the hit television, film and video game property that has delighted kids around the world for the last 25 years. The aggregate purchase price for the transactions is approximately $60 million.

Nickelodeon also announced plans to develop a new CG-animated television series based on the popular superhero franchise, anticipated to premiere in 2012. Additionally, in partnership with Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, a new release of a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles feature film is also planned for 2012. Nickelodeon has also acquired all merchandising rights to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and will continue to work with its original and long-standing toy partner, Playmates Toys, which has been the creative force behind the successful TMNT master toy program over the last two decades.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shares a comedic sensibility with the Nickelodeon DNA, with added layers of action and fantasy that have kept this property an evergreen favorite with multiple generations of audiences,” said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group. “We are extremely happy to have the opportunity to be able to focus on this property and creatively re-introduce it to a new generation of kids.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a property that maintains a very passionate global fan base, is rich with opportunity for a tentpole movie, and is exactly the right property for us to work together with Nickelodeon,”
said Adam Goodman, President, Paramount Pictures.

“Mirage has been the proud keeper of the Turtles’ brand since 1984, and in 2009 we celebrated their 25th anniversary with our legions of fans,” said Gary Richardson, CEO, Mirage Studios. “Nickelodeon is a powerhouse global brand, and we are confident that the company will be a wonderful steward for Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello and all the other TMNT characters and take them in all kinds of exciting and new creative directions.”

“We enjoyed our eight-year partnership with Mirage during which 4Kids and Mirage re-launched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise for a new generation of kids around the world,”
said Alfred Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. “We will also work with Mirage and Viacom so that our Turtles’ licensees can be assured of a seamless transition.”

Considered one of the most popular kids’ television programs of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a classic, global property created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It first debuted as a successful comic book series and then became a hit animated TV show, a live-action television series, and later spawned four blockbuster theatrical releases. The property also has translated into a significant consumer products business—with DVDs, video games, toys and more--that has generated billions of dollars at retail.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is based on four mutant turtles--trained in the art of Ninjitsu--who battle evil from the New York sewers. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated television series--jointly produced by 4Kids Entertainment and Mirage Studios—will continue to air on “TheCW4Kids” Saturday morning programming block on The CW network through Aug. 31, 2010.

MacFarlane and Stewie Get Lippy For Lipton

Last month you may have seen the Family Guy cast on Inside the Actors Studio, and below you can watch series creator Seth MacFarlane embody Stewie.

Psyop Makes Mime Magic For Fanta

Psyop directed this new spot for Fanta for the French market. It features the huge Ting Tings hit Shut Up and Let Me Go, and animation by Jae Ham, Pat Porter, James Hundertmark, Kyle Mohr, Michael Shin, Dave Barison and Gooshun Wang.. The agency on the job was Ogilvy & Mather, New York.

Long-Awaited Machinarium Released

Three years in the making, Amanita Design’s latest casual Flash game is finally here. Machinarium, which is getting great reviews, is available for full download, or you can play the first 3 levels for free over at Check out the walk-thru below, or read Cold Hard Flash's 2005 interview with Jacob Dvorsky, founder of Amanita.

Flash Animated Sugar Goulies Spot

Ben Thompson and Andres Silva (Makinita) created this super-wacky class-project commercial for the hypothetical cereal Sugar Goulies. The two are attending Fanshawe College in Ontario, Canada.

Why Transformers 2 is better than you think it is

If there's a summer blockbuster that inspired more disagreements and debates this year than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, I don't know what it is. Michael Bay's monolithic sequel earned more than $800 million worldwide, and also received some of the harshest criticism of any film of the director's career.

Newly released on Blu-ray, it remains to be seen whether the film's oft-contested winning streak continues on home video, but for my money, the film is actually a lot more effective on the small screen, thanks in no small part to the two-disc special edition set's abundance of extras and bonus materials—not to mention the availability of the "pause" button.

Truth be told, I actually enjoyed the film the first time I saw it, or at least took it for what it was—namely, the biggest, "most" movie I'd ever seen—and dismissed its many logical and narrative shortcomings as something that perhaps should be expected of a sequel to a film based upon a line of toys. If you disagree, fair enough—and far be it from me to sing the praises of stuff like twin robots that sport (at least) borderline-racist hip-hop accents—but given the subject matter and (especially) the director involved, it seems disingenuous to be surprised at almost anything that happens in Revenge of the Fallen.

On the small screen—or at least smaller, depending on the size of your TV—the movie plays surprisingly well, especially its first half. The scope and literal size of the images on a movie screen are overwhelming, massive, and cut so frenetically by Bay's four editors that it's no wonder that people said they couldn't keep track of what was happening. But at home, where you're able to capture the entirety of each frame in your field of view without having to scan the equivalent of broad side of a barn, the movie actually make a lot more visual sense, if not always narrative.

Additionally, you can go backwards and forwards in its often troubled timeline to revisit a detail that you might have previously missed. And finally, there's the all-powerful pause button, which can and should be used frequently in order to stave off headaches, provide potty breaks, and, quite frankly, break up the film's single-minded momentum.

Perhaps tellingly, the commentary track features Michael Bay, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, but the screenwriters were not present in the director's recording session, and vice versa. While that makes for a lot less backbiting than one might expect, Bay's vision for the film as a fun thrill ride seemed to be almost directly at odds with Orci and Kurtzman's focus on story and characters, and while everyone involved is respectful of one another, their comments suggest that the film is almost shockingly good given the odd and unwieldy way in which it was conceived. Not only did the delay caused by the writer's strike adversely impact the amount of time and focus that Orci and Kurtzman (along with Ehren Kruger) could devote to the script, but Bay's use of a 13-page outline to propel the film through preproduction stymied many of their efforts to create something that was more cohesive, since Bay found locations and came up with some of the set pieces himself that later had to be forced into the rest of the story.

In which case, there's something pretty amazing—sociologically, if not artistically—about the fact that with only the most marginal of blueprints, Bay and co. put together a hugely successful summer blockbuster. Just the idea of having a massive budget, incomparable production infrastructure and a looming release date and pulling off what ultimately became one of the biggest movies of the year is incredible. Not to mention the fact that no matter what you think of the end result, Bay understands virtually all aspects of the production process; on multiple occasions during the commentary track, the director discusses collaborating with his crew and generally achieving his shots in very specific ways that reflect a comprehensive understanding not only of technique but the effect of all of that muscular imagery he creates.

The bonus materials on the second disc delve specifically into all aspects of the production, starting with "The Human Factor," a documentary about the making of the movie that includes behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and background details about Transformers' development. As is perhaps to be expected, this is significantly more revealing than it might even intend to be, given the some of the aforementioned constraints; notwithstanding stuff like one designer's confession he knows nothing about cars and therefore designs the 'bots simply from his own imagination, there's footage of Orci, Kurtzman and Kruger holed up in a hotel suite furiously trying to finish pages—and later, shape existing scenes—as the film's release date grows near.

"A Day With Bay," meanwhile, follows the director through 24 hours of the promotion campaign, including interviews with Japanese journalists and shots of the Japan premiere; while the most surprising revelation here is that Japanese journalists are just as stupid as American ones (the most frequently-asked question at the junket is "if you could transform into anything, what would it be?"), Bay dropped a few hints about his participation in subsequent press events that explain a lot about the limited number of interviews domestic audiences read with him ("I'm going to ditch the American junket," he says candidly).

"25 Years of Transformers" and "Giant Effing Movie" provide even more background about the film and the franchise, the former examining the legacy of the toy series and the latter chronicling the production in a more intimate and personal way. While there's a surprising lack of footage of Megan Fox in much of this—not owing to any particular reason, mind you—Shia Le Beouf makes a game host, playing to the camera and goofing off in a way that really highlights what a talented and centered guy he is.

Additional interactive features offer fans a chance to look at scene-specific breakdowns of the film's blitzkrieg action, to peruse biographies and back stories for each of the characters in the film, and create their very own Transformers. But even as someone who defended the film or maybe just celebrated what it was rather than decried what it wasn't, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen really seems to have a chance to be rediscovered and re-evaluated on Blu-ray. And ultimatelly, even if the extras, bonus materials and Bay's comments fail to transform your expectations, at least you can re-examine the experience at your leisure rather than relentlessly, all at once, and on a screen that swallows you whole.

Who is Warner Bros Considering for LOBO?

Clancy Brown. That's who.

Comics2Film at spoke exclusively to a source close to the development of the film who tells us that director Guy Ritchie is "gung-ho" on the 'Lobo' movie project and working hard to get the script in shape for filming next year.

With that in mind the conversation has turned towards casting the film. We asked our source if plans were to cast a wrestler or bodybuilder that could match Lobo's muscled-up physique from the comics.

"Lobo has to look like that, but the person being Lobo doesn't necessarily," our source told us. "I'm not saying that's how they're gonna do it because they're still trying to work that out, but for example Andy Serkis doesn't particularly look like Gollum, you know? It's all about performance."

So is Lobo going to be all CGI, a la Gollum or Hulk or King Kong? Our source says the conversations about that are all over the map. They could go that route or they could go with a mix of costume, makeup and CGI enhancements, similar to what was seen in the 'Hellboy' movies.

"Ultimately regardless of whether you do it all CG or its a guy in a suit, with CG, you'll still end up doing a lot of CG animation. So do you need a celebrity? Do you need a name or do you just get someone who is good and who's gonna nail it?"

Our guy on the inside says a name that's come up frequently in meetings is Clancy Brown.

Brown, a veteran of too many genre films to name, first caught fan attention as The Kurgan in 'Highlander' (a role not too far removed from DC Comics' main bastich). More recently he sizzled in roles like Brother Crowe in 'Carnivale' and the heroic tracker John Clay in 'The Burrowers'. Of course he's also known as the voice of Lex Luthor in various animated productions including the recent 'Superman/Batman: Public Enemies'.

"Wouldn't he be awesome? I think he'd knock it out of the park," enthused our source.

However, he was quick to add that the studio hasn't truly begun the casting process. A lot has to happen before they actually start approaching actors and making offers. For now Brown is just a name being tossed around in meetings.

Brown definitely has the voice and can pull off the surly persona of the main man, so C2F has to give this casting choice a thumbs up.

The Wolfman Trailer #2

The new trailer for the Joe Johnson-directed film starring Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving and Art Malik. Inspired by the classic Universal film that launched a legacy...

What will ABC put in the skies over New York to promote V?

Anyone think a large airborne sci-fi stunt over New York post 9/11 is a bad idea?

Well, that was the consensus after Air Force One buzzed Manhattan. So ABC is making sure everyone knows that they are planning something silly in the skies over the Big Apple to promote the upcoming miniseries V.

No, not the arrival of giant UFOs hovering over Central Park, though that would be very cool. Here's how the New York Post reports it:

Starting Friday, the giant red letter V—written by skywriting planes—will begin to appear over New York landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the network says, to promote V, a remake of the 1980s miniseries, that begins next month. ...

ABC won't specify which landmarks will be getting the giant
V treatment, but it will go on for several days, it says.

New Yorkers can expect to see the sky graffiti overhead early Sunday and again on Halloween.

Four episodes of V will air starting on Nov. 3 before taking a break and returning early next year.

Smallville actor busted in drug sting

Say it ain't so, Pete.

Former Smallville star Sam Jones III, who played Pete Ross on the first three seasons of the CW series, was arrested today after allegedly acting as part of a conspiracy to deal more than 10,000 pills of oxycodone, reported:

TMZ has learned Sam Jones, who played Clark Kent's best friend on the show, was taken into custody by DEA agents who claim Jones was a "co-conspirator" in a series of major drug deals in 2008.

According to documents filed in federal court, the DEA claims Jones was the "Hollywood connection" in a plot to illegally purchase and distribute the oxycodone.

Jones returned to Smallville in 2008 for the episode "Hero."

Jones has been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. He's due in federal court in L.A. later today. If convicted, Jones faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

This is sad, as we really liked the character and hoped the actor himself would go on to bigger and better things.

Rumor control: New 3-D Star Wars film trilogy coming?

Every now and then, someone tries to stir up a new rumor about a future trilogy of Star Wars films, and none of them ever turns out to be true, and we're going to go out on a limb here and say this one's also bogus.

Marketsaw is reporting that George Lucas is gearing up a 3-D trilogy:

I have been hearing rumblings ... extremely quiet at first, but now heating up significantly and from a trusted source—that George Lucas is preparing to unleash another STAR WARS trilogy upon us, this time in stereoscopic 3D. This is NOT the TV series, these are brand spankin' new 3D STAR WARS movies.

Yes, the pending 2D to 3D conversions of his six existing
STAR WARS properties are still a go as 3D theaters are approaching 3000 (5000 is the number Lucas wants). No word on when this work will be completed. ...

Lucas will be producing and NOT directing these new episodes apparently! Could Steven Spielberg be tapped to direct a
STAR WARS movie after all? Yes according to a trusted source of mine! Further, Francis Ford Coppola was mentioned too as a possible director for a future film!

We're going to say it flat out. This is SO not true. We don't believe it for a second. And we're willing to have egg on our faces if it does turn out to be true, but of course we're confident it's not true. Spielberg? Coppola? Really?

Here's Marketsaw's reasoning for why Lucas would trouble himself to climb off his mattress stuffed with $100 bills:

I could see Lucas getting a little jealous over a successful launch of AVATAR - jealous because it is a fully articulated universe, like his. And if he doesn't act on it - his franchise may well be relegated to a back seat as potentially the records will start falling to Pandora.

Again, SO not true. Anyone out there with us?

(Thanks to C.H.U.D. for the heads-up.)

Illegal Alien costume turns into bizarre free speech issue

Immigrant advocates are urging retailers to pull a Halloween costume depicting a space creature in orange prison garb emblazoned with the words "illegal alien," while a group that supports strict immigration laws says such a move impinges on freedom of speech, MSNBC reported.

Since Friday, when the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights in Los Angeles first raised the issue, companies including Target, Walgreens and eBay have removed the costume from their inventory. Still, many local retailers continue to stock the costume that also comes with a "green" card—which technically makes the alien legal.

Target has said it sold the costume online only and that it was posted by accident because it did not meet the company's standards. eBay said it asked sellers to remove the costume because it "does not allow items that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual, or religious intolerance, or promote organizations with such views."

But William Gheen, head of the North Carolina-based political action committee Americans for Legal Immigration, said efforts to get stores not to sell the costume amounted to an attack on freedom of speech. He urged Americans to buy the costumes in protest.

Beyond the holiday uproar, the dispute highlights the controversial nature of the phrase illegal alien—still the government's official term for those in the country without a visa, though many national politicians and media increasingly avoid using it. Many major media organizations, including The Associated Press, no longer use the term "Illegal Alien" unless quoting an individual or official statute.

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