Even though a live-action film version of Hanna-Barbera’s prehistoric cartoon series, The Flintstones, was released all the way back in 1994, a similar Hollywood adaptation (complete with flesh-and-blood stars) has yet to be made based on that show’s futuristic sci-fi cousin, ie. The Jetsons.
Way back the day (re: in 2009) Robert Rodriguez was planning to make the Jetsons movie his latest cost-efficient, in-studio project, working from a screenplay by Adam F. Goldberg (The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz, Fanboys). Rodriguez eventually decided to instead move ahead with his own original hyper-colorful kid-friendly effects pic, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World, and Peter Segal (Get Smart, Anger Management) was briefly considered as a replacement.
Chances are good that (prior to reading this) you already heard about Kanye West having recently claimed he is in line to become a “creative director” on the Jetsons flick, during his 3-hour Twitter storm. However, amidst all the knee-jerk reactions and general shock that greeted this announcement, Jetsons producer Denise Di Novi did actually confirm that the occasionally-controversial rapper/producer/filmmaker was indeed approached about the project.
Here is what Di Novi had to offer MTV, on the topic:
“Kanye’s always been a Jetsons fan, I think because he’s so into design and he loves the design aspects. So we had a fun brainstorming conversation. We heard that he knew we were working on the Jetsons. He reached out and said he’s a huge Jetsons fan. There are a lot of Jetsons fanatics out there, especially people that are into either futuristic science or design. He was interested in creatively brainstorming what we were doing with the movie and what ideas he might have. It was a really friendly, preliminary conversation.
“He was going to think about it more and see if he got inspired visually. He’s a very visual artist.”
Odd it may seem, West does have a talent for stylistic cinematic imagery. Case in point: his 2010 short music-based film, Runaway (click on that link to watch a SFW version of the short) pays creative homage to and was influenced by the often-surreal visual approach of filmmakers like Federico Fellini and Stanley Kubrick, as well as painted artwork from the Cubist and Impressionist movements.
Suffice it so say, a Jetsons movie under West’s supervision could certainly look quite inspired – and bear more creative CGI futuristic technology (spacecrafts, floating architecture, etc.) than you might expect from… well, this type of flick.
Old-school cartoon adaptations don’t exactly have a stellar track record, as far as quality goes; the Flintstones live-action movies and live-action/CGI hybrids such as Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, and the Alvin and the Chipmunks series are infamous for appealing (almost) strictly to the juice box crowd – and even that task is something they tend to do only moderately well. Hence, although there was some interest in seeing Rodriguez tackle The Jetsons live-action pic, that project has largely been dreaded (more than anticipated) to date.
All the same, West’s possible involvement with the Jetsons project (bizarre it may seem) is certainly intriguing – and, dare it be said, even promising, assuming you’re a fan of his work/style. Besides, could the final product really be that much more surreal than the 1990 animated Jetsons: The Movie, where characters sporadically break out into rap songs and pop musician Tiffany voices Judy Jetson? (Just marinate on that statement for a moment…)
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of The Jetsons as more information is released.