Animated ‘Popeye’ Movie Moves Forward, This Time With ‘Ratchet and Clank’ Writer
An animated Popeye movie has been in the works for years, with Genndy Tartakovsky (Hotel Transylvania) previously attached to direct. But when Tartakovsky dropped out, so did our hopes for the future of this animated revival of the classic character. There may be hope yet, as Ratchet and Clank writer T.J. Fixman has come aboard to draft a new screenplay for the film.
Per Deadline, Sony has tapped Fixman to write the screenplay for the long-developing Popeye project. Fixman is one of the writers behind the beloved Ratchet and Clank video game series, as well as the upcoming big screen adaptation. He was also drafted by Hasbro Studios as their new creative consultant for their future TV, film and various media projects, so Fixman clearly has some strong franchise ideas.
On top of that, Fixman has a few movies in development, including Disney’s animated Gargoyles project and The Men Who Kill over at Fox.
Tartakovsky was developing the Popeye movie with Sony for a few years until he exited over creative differences. In an interview with The Wrap last year, the acclaimed animation director / producer explained that Sony was unhappy with his version of the film, and although he tries to be diplomatic, it’s clear that the studio is going for something way more contemporary than Popeye should be:
We made a version that we were happy with, and the studio didn’t like that version. It’s still a mystery for me that they didn’t like that version. They wanted to do “Popeye” for the brand recognition and I loved the character and grew up with it, so there was a tug of war. They wanted it really updated, and I can only update it a little before it isn’t “Popeye” anymore. To be truthful, it was in the middle of the Sony hack and the studio was really struggling. It was just really bad timing.
That’s unfortunate news, as Tartakovsky has given us great animated products such as Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory, as well as the two Hotel Transylvania movies, consistently providing vibrant, joyful animation and humor.
Hopefully Fixman will find a way to compromise with the studio without compromising the spirit of the classic animated sailor. For the curious, here’s Tartakovsky’s animated test for Popeye: