Sunday, March 13, 2016

J.J. Abrams Almost Worked On A Roger Rabbit Sequel

Director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams, happens to have a slight connection to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Abrams recently worked with producer Kathleen Kennedy on the new episode of Star Wars, but she had known of him from many years before.

During the Nerdist Podcast, Abrams discusses how Kathleen Kennedy read about him in the LA Times during a film festival when he was only 16. She called to ask him about repairing 8mm films for Steven Spielberg that he made when he was a kid. He said yes and did the repairs. It would be years later that he eventually met Spielberg.

While the details are scant he does officially say from that point it was "a meeting about a Roger Rabbit sequel."

"It was a whole thing. I actually have some storyboards for a Roger Rabbit short." he states during the interview.

When pushed for more details about the plot of the sequel, he says it didn't get into a full script-writing phase and there was only an outline for the film at that time and never got past a "what-if" stage. He also mentions Robert Zemeckis possibly going to be the producer and recalled the meeting to have taken place in 1989.

He did give a little insight on attending an animation pitch for one of the Roger Rabbit cartoon shorts being made:
"I had never seen an animation pitch before [...] There were three giant boards and, with a stick, they would point to one of the storyboards that were tacked up onto the giant board. And they would perform every frame. For someone who knows animation, you'd think, 'Well, yes, that’s what they do,' but having never seen it before, it was unbelievably entertaining watching these two guys perform this short film, doing the voices."

This new bit of information is certainly something never shared before. With J.J. Abrams being praised for how well he handled Star Wars, it's intriguing to know he was on-board for a Roger Rabbit sequel years ago. It's mentioned in the podcast that it would be impossible to get all the Warner Brothers characters back in a Disney movie, but I think if the film is good enough, you wouldn't need all those characters to return (though they certainly add a lot of appeal). Several early plot outlines wanted the sequel to be a prequel, with Roger before he becomes famous and how he met Jessica. So if that plot stayed, it would be before he met a lot of those characters anyway.

During the podcast, Abrams discussed how Kathleen Kennedy thought of him as her protégé very early on, and years later they came together to work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Kennedy was also the executive producer of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and since she and Abrams worked so well together, wouldn't it be great to see them team up for a Roger Rabbit Sequel?