It's been over a year since Benedict Cumberbatch was confirmed to be voicing the title role in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a feature length animated reboot of the classic holiday tale. Today, we get a first look at the grumpy green Grinch intent on taking over Christmas. And word that the title has been greatly reduced to just two short words, better for fitting on a marquee.
"Stealing Christmas 2018."
Jim Carrey starred in the original live-action movie adaptation of The Grinch way back in 2000, with the new take coming 18 years after the comedian nearly walked off the set due to the painful contact lens and make-up he was required to wear. Benedict Cumberbatch has it much better off this time around, as all he had to do was show up to a recording booth in his pajamas.
Some footage from The Grinch was shown off at CinemaCon way back in 2016. And it was said to be quite spectatcular. We haven't heard much about the movie since then, and no trailer has emerged yet. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas will be the second Dr. Seuss animated movie for Illumination Entertainment following The Lorax. And it is said to be quite a departure from the original iconic Christmas special released in 1966. Producer Chris Meledandri had this to say about the project at that time.
"What we've set out to do with this telling of the Grinch is make it both modern and traditional at the same time. When I say that I mean from a traditional standpoint, we've really tried to go back to what we perceive as the essence of what Ted Geisel was communicating. What I love about his work is that at the center of it, of all of his stories, are very, very simple and universal ideas. The last telling of the Grinch focused a little bit more on sort of the commercialization of Christmas and how the commercialization of Christmas can lead us down the wrong path. For me, in reading what Geisel wrote, I view it more from a character perspective. I think that the essence of this film is the notion of this cynicism comedically expressed in the Grinch and this absolute innocence represented in Cindy Lou, on a collision course with one another through the course of this movie. It's the simple question of whether or not innocence can transform cynicism. The beauty of that simplicity for me is what's at the heart of the movie. In the experience of the movie I love the sort of wicked comedic aspect of this character the Grinch and I think that what you'll see is from the very, very early animation tests, very raw, you'll see that there's an undeniable appeal in the character in spite of that kind of, sort of wicked persona, and I find that very, very, appealing and attractive. Our choice in directors on one hand, Yarrow Cheney, who's come up through our process of having been a production designer and now co-director and directed one of the sweetest shorts we ever made, called Puppy, combined with Pete Candeland who is really best known for his work co-directing all the animated Gorillaz videos. The modern and the traditional coming together. And I think our choice in voice will also immediately suggest the distinction of the film."
The Grinch will be a fully 3D CG experience the likes of which this green meanie has never seen. It will be interesting to see Benedict Cumberbatch's take on the Grinch as a classically trained actor, as opposed to what Jim Carrey did with it almost two decades ago, coming from a stand-up comedy background.
The classic Dr. Seuss tale has been adapted several times since the book was first published in 1957. The How the Grinch Stole Christmas animated TV special first debuted in 1966, which continues to air during the holidays to this day. Christopher Meledandri is producing for Illumination Entertainment, with Audrey Geisel, the widow of Dr. Seuss (a.k.a. Theodore Geisel), executive producing. Christopher Meledandri has also produced the Dr. Seuss adaptations Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who in 2008 and last year's Dr. Seuss' the Lorax. Take a look at the new Grinch.