Genndy Tartakovsky Offers Update On His CG 'Popeye' Adaptation
Fans of animation are likely already familiar with Russian animator/writer/producer/director Genndy Tartakovsky, as he's directed shows like "Samurai Jack", "Dexter's Laboratory", and "Star Wars: Clone Wars" over his career. He just made his feature directorial debut on Adam Sandler's Hotel Transylvania that hits theaters later this month, and we've known for a little while that he's set to direct a new CG 3D take on Popeye for Sony that they've been developing since 2010. IGN recently spoke with the animation filmmaker, and he offered the challenges he faces in bringing this character to life again the big screen.
Here's what Tartakovsky told IGN when asked about bringing Popeye to a modern audience:
Well, that’s the biggest challenge, that’s exactly it. The only reason that I took it is that they gave me the script and I didn’t like it. [...] And I said, ‘If you want me to do Popeye, it has to be broad physical comedy with half the dialogue that a normal movie has and you want it to be really visceral.’ And they said, ‘Yes, that’s what we want. [...] So that’s the thing. We’re going to do it like ten times more cartoony than even what we did with Hotel T because that’s what Popeye is. But the biggest challenge is how do you take a tattooed, pipe-smoking sailor into today? So that’s a challenge that we’re definitely trying to figure out. How to make it contemporary, but not taking everything away from what’s been done.
I'm not sure if Popeye is a property that can successfully be transitioned into modern times because it's very much a product of the time it was created and representative of an era that's long gone. (Look at the recent adaptation of The Three Stooges for another example.) But if anyone can tackle it, especially in animated form (unlike Robert Altman's bizarre live-action Robin Williams version), it's Tartakovsky. He has such a cool artistic vision and a great sense of style, and it sounds like he knows what's important about this character, so hopefully he'll settle on not trying to incorporate too many modern elements into the story and just let the character speak for himself. No update about those rumors of Jim Carrey and Amy Adams providing voices for the lead characters, but we'll keep you posted as more is revealed. Thoughts?