If a skit about a refined, well-spoken canine and his dim-witted human companion who together explore history via a time-traveling device called a WABAC sounds too silly for even a cartoon show… well, Rocky & Bullwinkle co-creators Alex Anderson, Bill Scott, and Jay Ward didn’t think so.
Dreamworks likes the idea as well and is developing a 3D computer-animated film based off the characters in question – otherwise known as the hyper-intelligent dog, Mr. Peabody and his “pet boy”, Sherman. The studio has even recruited Robert Downey Jr. to voice Peabody.
Peabody and Sherman were part of both original Rocky & Bullwinkle TV series (Rocky and his Friends and The Bullwinkle Show) that aired in the late 1950s/early 60s. Bits with the bespectacled Peabody and Sherman followed the pair as they would journey back in time and reveal some previously unknown, incredulous pieces of information about a variety of famous historical figures (ex. – it turned out Napoleon always kept his hand tucked in his uniform so as to prevent his pants from falling down).
EW is reporting that the Peabody and Sherman movie will focus on the pair’s origins, in addition to their aforementioned rendezvous with historical characters. Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) is directing the film and offered the following with respect to Peabody’s backstory:
“Mr. Peabody is this genetic anomaly. He does have brothers and sisters, all of them non-speaking, non super-smart dogs. He’s an outcast, but has overcome it by being so great at so many things.”
While the original Peabody and Sherman skits were charming in their own way, they arguably do not lend themselves naturally to a big screen adaptation. Add to that the fact that Yogi Bear screenwriters Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia are scripting the movie and it becomes increasingly difficult to not be concerned that Dreamworks’ adaptation will lack the clever wit and humor of its source material.
Downey Jr. has made a career out of playing fast-talking smart alecks and his providing the voice of Mr. Peabody certainly works in the film’s favor. Minkoff’s decision to skip on making the project a live-action/CGI hybrid is also a plus – as is the fact that the Peabody and Sherman cartoons do have a little more narrative substance that, say, the original skits involving Hanna-Barbera’s smarter-than-average bear (and even that cartoon adaptation was not as bad as many feared).
Peabody and Sherman will make the jump to the big screen in 2014.
Source: Entertainment Weekly