Hollywood-20th Century Fox, the producer of the movie based on the cartoon panel Marmaduke and the forthcoming movie based on the long-running comic strip Peanuts, is moving along with its 3D version of another cartoon panel-The Family Circus.
Plans call for The Family Circus movie, based on an autobiographical cartoon by the late Bil Keane, will make intensive use of 3D imagery and computer-generated design, according to Kathryn Price, who has been hired to adapt the circle-shaped cartoon panel into a feature film that would be at least an hour and a half long.
"We had thought of making the movie live-action, complete with Fabio or Kevin Costner as Daddy Keane in order to reach the women who pine about their Prince Charming, along with Kim Kardashian as Mommy for the men," she explained. "But as we developed the script, we ran into a few problem-the sets and the ghosts."
Price was referring to the occasional Family Circus panels which often included Billy, Dolly, Jeffy and PJ wandering around leaving dotted black lines behind them. Of greater concern for 20th Century Fox and Price were transitioning from the live action scenes into an animated format as if it were drawn by a 7-year old boy and back. "That's one of the trademarks of The Family Circus," Price said, "along with some terrible puns."
Due to the difficulties of transitioning from the live action scenes to the crayon-esque drayings is one reason why the movie will be entirely animated-in the style of movies produced by such studios as DreamWorks Animation's Shrek and Pixar's Up. "We can get flunkies to do the voices of Mommy, Daddy, the children and even Barfy," Price explained.
And with 3D animation, Barfy would live up to his name. "We hope to have several scenes in which Barfy hurls in the direction of the audience," she explained. "That should guarantee us a cult following for this following-hopefully on the scale of The Rocky Horror Picture Show."
In order to keep the pun-haters lined up for the movie, Price said that her screenplay writers would demonize the three ghosts, Ida Know, Not Me and Nobody who frequently visit the Keane household and get blamed for everything from breaking chinaware to buying into Nigerian online scams. In addition, they would cause little Jeffy and PJ lots of "frightmares", tangle Dolly's "pasketti" and break some fragile "meatbulbs".
"This could be the most frightening cartoon since It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown", Price said, "and the most heartwarming story about childhood since A Christmas Story."
Price added there would be lots of tie-ins for the movie. Among them would be Hallmark greeting cards ("if the Peanuts people don't mind being upstaged by our promotional ideas," Price said), Family Circus apps for cellphones and tablets---featuring the dotted black lines, Family Circus games both electronic and board and more.
One of the most unusual tie-ins involves a Family Circus-type pun to take place at local malls and multiplex theater complexes-where strobe lights would excite people about the movie, Price said. "We plan to call that event a flash mob."