Charles M. Schulz's beloved Peanuts comic strip characters are finally coming to life on the big screen later this year with The Peanuts Movie, a 3D CGI animated comedy from 20th Century Fox, director Steve Martino and producer Paul Feig, who is best known for his edgy comedies such as Bridesmaids and the upcoming Spy, in theaters May 22. There were several longtime Peanuts fans who were worried about a big-budget 3D animated film, and that these beloved characters might be reconceived to cater to modern-day audiences. While doing press for Spy at SXSW, Paul Feig revealed that the movie is "very sweet," confirming that it will be a G-rated movie, casting aside fear that it will be tonally comparable to a movie like Space Jam.
"It's very sweet. It's totally a G-rated movie, because you can't get edgy with Charlie Brown. That was the Schulz family's fear, that me and Fox everybody were gonna come in and hip it up and cast Justin Bieber as Charlie Brown and have it like Space Jam or something. All of us were like, 'No.' We cast kids that sound exactly like the kids you remember from the specials. It's very pure of heart."
"I'm really happy with it. It's a scary thing to take on, but also Charles M. Schulz's son and grandson and the grandson's writing partner are the writers on it. So we've been guiding it along for quite a while, it's been almost two years now. Steve Martino from Blue Sky is directing it, and he and that team are so religious about wanting to keep it the way-everything we loved about it."
He also talked about the fan reactions to the initial announcement that The Peanuts Movie will be 3D CGI. While he appreciates the fans' passion, he adds that they should just wait and see what they are planning.
"What happened was when it first got announced as '3D CGI', everybody went nuts-including Brad Bird. And you're just like, 'Everybody just wait!' It's the thing in showbiz that movies mean so much to people, and their favorite properties mean so much that people get very passionate-I do, you do. But when you're on the other side of it, when you're the one trying to steer it, all these preconceptions come out and you're just like, 'Oh you don't know what we're doing, just wait.'"
Director Steve Martino and Blue Sky Studios were already developing The Peanuts Movie when Paul Feig came on board. The producer said that the project was already true to the original comic strip characters from the beginning.
"When I first came onboard they were already in the beginnings of developing it and Steve and the Blue Sky team showed me the preliminary artwork and some of the animation, and I literally got so choked up because the minute it came out I was like, 'They cracked it. It's so true to what it is.' And weirdly the CGI makes it almost work a little better in a weird way because they made it feel like the cartoons, but it just has enough of a-realism's not the right word, it just kind of comes off the screen in a way where you feel like they're real. It's very bizarre, I'm so excited about it."
What do you think about these new developments? We still have less than eight months left until The Peanuts Movie hits theaters on November 6, so we'll have to wait and see if some of these wary fans will come around and embrace the 3D CGI movie. Will you check it out when it debuts this fall?