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Voice of ‘Roger Rabbit’ talks sequel

by Adam Wills

August 12, 2009 | 3:22 am

Charles Fleischer spoke with GeekHeeb Tuesday night, and he confirmed the prospects for a “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” sequel are good.

If you don’t recognize the name, he’s the voice of Roger Rabbit (along with Benny the Cab and two of the weasels in the Toon Patrol). And from what he said, talks regarding a “Roger Rabbit” big-screen sequel are progressing, but nothing is set in stone yet.

Zemeckis has been coyly alluding to a sequel for several months now, and Fleischer, flashing an impish smile last night, seemed all too happy to talk about the possibility.

Combining live action with animation – along with producer Steven Spielberg’s ability to get various studios (Warner Bros., Paramount and Universal) to let him use their animated characters for cameos—made the original “Roger Rabbit” a groundbreaking hit, which inspired Disneyland’s Toontown; animated shorts (“Tummy Trouble,” “Roller Coaster Rabbit”), which screened before Disney releases like “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “Dick Tracy”; a video game and graphic novels.

A prequel had been planned following “Roger Rabbit’s” 1988 box-office success ($329 million worldwide). Titled “Roger Rabbit: The Toon Platoon,” the film would have featured Roger heading to Europe to rescue his future wife, Jessica Krupnick, from Nazi kidnappers. But Steven Spielberg, fresh from directing “Schindler’s List,” couldn’t get behind a project that satirized Nazis. Script rewrites followed, the project got mired in development hell, and an estimated $100 million budget led then Disney chief Michael Eisner to pull the plug.

The CGI revolution also helped doom the “Roger Rabbit” sequel, but Disney’s return to traditional animation (e.g., “The Princess and the Frog”) in addition to growing demand for 3D films could be the thing that helps resurrect the project.

Zemeckis started discussing the possibility of a sequel in April after working on the motion-capture animated 3D film “A Christmas Carol” with Jim Carrey. And during the July 23 Disney 3D panel at Comic-Con, Robert Zemeckis said he could “neither confirm nor deny” the possibility of a second “Roger Rabbit” feature film. But he said, “If that ever does happen, the 2D animated characters will remain 2D. They will not be dimensionalized, but that doesn’t mean other parts won’t be in 3D.”

Fleischer, not to be outdone, said, “I would like to see Roger suddenly become three-dimensional and the rest of the world turn two-dimensional. If that’s in the film, that was my idea.”

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