Back in September 2014, tons of jaws dropped when Sony Pictures Animation released a test animation for one of director Genndy Tartakovsky’s projects at the company: an adaptation of Popeye.
If you don’t remember or haven’t seen it, here’s the video:
Looked great, didn’t it? Despite being an adaptation, you can tell this was a project that was near and dear to Genndy. Which is what makes this recent update about the project all the more sad.
Courtesy of Spinoff Online and stemming from an interview on Moviefone, Tartakovsky dropped some bad news concerning the state of his Popeye adaptation. While the project appears to not be canceled, something else has transpired that may be worse.
Genndy Tartakovsky will no longer be in the director’s chair as the Popeye adaptation goes forward.
Here are Tartakovsky’s words on what happened:
‘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.
In the wake of the massive hacking scandal that shook Sony Pictures, leaked emails apparently revealed some underlying problems with the state of Sony Animation and its projects. As such, Sony Animation and other subdiaries were subject to a company-wide restructuring that resulted in Bob Osher and Amy Pascal resigning from their positions.
Similarly, Michelle Raimo Kouyate stepped down from her position as President of Production for Sony Animation. She was quickly replaced by Kristine Belson.
It’s a strong possibility that, as a result of the changes in management, the current production slate may be reexamined and possibly restructured to fit Belson’s new mandate.
Regardless, it’s incredibly unfortunate that we won’t get to see the film that Genndy Tartakovsky would have made if things had stayed the course. Tartakovsky was with the project since June 2012, so surely there must have been a wealth of ideas and concepts he had in mind for his version of Popeye that will, unfortunately, never see the light of day. But, like he noted, that’s typically how things go in the business. In fact, by the time the first Hotel Transylvania landed in his lap, he was the sixth director to take a crack at the film.
While we can still look forward to the other projects Tartakovsky may have in development at Sony, we can only imagine the Popeye film that could have been.
What do you think? Any thoughts on this development? Are you looking forward to Genndy Tartakovsky’s other projects at Sony Animation?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes