Believe it or not, the Captain Underpants books are almost 20 years old. Dav Pilkey's irreverent children's book series was first published in 1997, helping to kick off a long-running trend of comedy-focused, illustration-heavy kid-lit that merged an offbeat sense of humor with the sensibilities of the comic-strip world.
Written and illustrated by Pilkey, the Captain Underpants books (there are 12 in total) revolve around a pair of elementary school best friends named George Beard and Harold Hutchins, whose antics lead to them being menaced by their mean, overbearing school principal Mr. Krupp. Utilizing hypnosis, they convince Krupp that he is actually a superhero of their own creation, Captain Underpants, who battles supervillains wearing only a pair of white briefs and a cape.
Over the course of the books, Krupp (who is unaware of his dual personality) acquires superhuman powers of his own and "transforms" against his will when someone snaps their fingers or he is doused with water. He (and the two boys behind his creation) come into conflict with villains such as Professory Poopypants (who will be the primary antagonist in the film), Wedgie Woman, Sir Stinks-a-Lot and The Lunchroom Zombie Nerds, among others.
A feature film adaptation has been promised for years, but will finally see the light of day in 2017. Now, check out the first look at the anticipated feature, courtesy of EW. Take a look at the image:
DreamWorks Animation is behind the film adaptation, with Ed Helms voicing both Principal Krupp and Captain Underpants. Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch will voice Harold and George, while Nick Kroll has been cast as the villainous Professor Poopypants. While primarily utilizing now-standard 3D computer animation, the plan is for the film to mirror the irreverent tone of the material by employing mixed-media sequences using puppets, comic-strip panels, 2D animation and even "flip-o-rama" flipbooks depicted in the novels.
The project's director, David Soren (Turbo), spoke about the creativity inherent in Captain Underpants' story, especially thanks to its protagonists, Harold and George:
“The lovely thing is that we have two creative boys at the center of this thing, so anything they dream up really is something we can just lean into heavily. It constantly keeps the story feeling like it’s been made by two fourth graders, as opposed to me.”
Of course, Captain Underpants is still an entirely different kind of superhero story than any Hollywood has seen before, so it's unclear whether DreamWorks will find success with the adaptation of Pilkey's property.
Captain Underpants hits theaters on June 2, 2017.
Source: Entertainment Weekly