Well blow me down: Genndy Tartakovsky's animated Popeye film is no more
It’s been a while since we last heard about Genndy Tartakovsky’s animated POPEYE film and now we know why: it’s not happening. During a recent interview to discuss HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 the director revealed that he was no longer working on the film due to Sony moving in a different direction.
"Popeye," at least, we put up a great screening, everybody really liked that sizzle, we got a positive reaction. I was in love with what we were doing, but I think the studio is going through changes and I don't know if they want to make the "Popeye" that I want to make. So they've got to make a decision. Right now, I'm off that project and moving on to the other one that we soft-announced, which is "Can You Imagine?" which is an original idea of my own and a very personal story. It was hard to let "Popeye" go, but that's the business.
Following the Sony hacking scandal, the company underwent a restructuring in an effort to right their sinking ship and to make new additions to their staff. One such addition was the hiring of former DreamWorks producer Kristine Belson as the new president of the Sony Pictures Animation division. It was said that Belson was wanting to put her own stamp on the division which would lead to some of the previously-announced pictures being retooled or perhaps cancelled altogether. Sadly, it looks like POPEYE was one of those casualties
I thought that the animation demo released last year showed a lot of promise; the physical comedy and slapstick really brought back memories of watching the old Popeye cartoons. The decision to remove Popeye’s customary pipe was irksome, although I can at least understand why they thought that’d be right, but the removal of his anchor tattoos was a little more confusing. Those may seem like small things but…they’re really a big part of who Popeye is. Political correctness be damned.
It’s possible that POPEYE will resurface in some form, just not with Genndy Tartakovsky at the helm. CAN YOU IMAGINE?, the other film Tartakovsky mentioned in his interview, is said to deal with a "fantastic journey through one boy’s imagination". Sounds a little similar to Pixar's upcoming INSIDE OUT but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile his latest film, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, opens in theaters on September 25, 2015.