Genndy Tartakovsky Will Direct a New Popeye Movie

The creator of 'Dexter's Laboratory' and 'Samurai Jack' will bring the classic cartoon to the big screen... with CG-animation.

William Bibbianiby William Bibbiani


It took Hollywood far too long to recognize the genius of Genndy Tartakovsky, the animator who brought you such classic series as "Dexter's Laboratory," "Samurai Jack" and the 2D animated "Star Wars: Clone Wars" series that puts George Lucas's CG-animated version to shame (and is currently out of print, some say, for that very reason). His first feature film, Hotel Transylvania, isn't due out until September but he's already picked out his next project: an adaptation of the classic comic strip and cartoon character created by Elzie Crisler Segar. 

Popeye, a perpetually mumbling sailor who constantly has to save his girlfriend Olive Oyl from his romantic rival Bluto (sometimes named "Brutus" instead, for some reason) using his secret weapon, spinach, to boost his already considerable strength to superhuman levels. Popeye was the subject of a long series of acclaimed and beloved animated shorts from Fleischer Studios, the company also responsible for the classic Superman cartoons that heavily influenced "Batman: The Animated Series."

Variety reports that Genndy Tartakovsky will take over the Popeye project at Sony Pictures, which has been in development for two years. Last we heard, the screenplay was being written by Jay Scherick and David Ronn, whose previous credits include such comedy "classics" as The Smurfs, Norbit and The Zookeeper. The film is to be made in 3D CG-animation. For purists, the only part of this equation that inspires any confidence whatsoever may be Tartakovsky.

Popeye had his first film in 1980, courtesy of Robert Altman, the director of M.A.S.H.NashvilleMcCabe & Mrs. Miller and a slew of other American classics. Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall starred in the live-action film that was considered a box office success, but remains somehow underrated to this day despite impeccable performances, impressive sets, clever choreography and a string of inventive, off-kilter musical numbers. What do you think the odds are of Sony Pictures approaching Robin Williams to reprise his role one more time?

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