We now know that Robert Zemeckis is playing it old school in at least one respect when it comes to his “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” sequel: the script will be penned by original scribes Jeffrey Price and Peter Seaman.
But with over two decades of moviemaking technology between the release of his first cartoon bunny film and the beginning of creative brainstorming for the second, the question is whether or not Zemeckis will also play it old school when it comes to the look of the film. Will it merge live-action with traditional animation? Or, building on his work on films like “A Christmas Carol” and “Beowulf,” will the director introduce motion-capture and 3-D technology into the equation?
During a recent interview with MTV News’ Josh Horowitz, Zemeckis made his clearest statement yet that he’ll use mo-cap for the human actors and that the movie will be partly in 3-D.
“All the other characters that [the cartoons] would sort of have fun with would be magnificent in performance capture technology,” he explained.
Inherent in this admission is the matter of 3-D technology. Starting with “The Polar Express” in 2004, all of Zemeckis’ mo-cap movies have also been in three dimensions. So when the director talks about using performance-capture, he’s also talking about making “Roger Rabbit” partly in 3-D. But he also ruled out using 3-D or mo-cap when it comes to the cartoons, including the title rabbit and his voluptuous beau, Jessica.
“I wouldn’t use it for the cartoon characters, because I think they should stay two-dimensional because that’s what — I wouldn’t dimensonalize Roger,” he said. “And I couldn’t dimensonalize Jessica even if I wanted to because she doesn’t have a nose. We wouldn’t want to give her a nose.”
Here’s where it gets tricky. Even at its best, mo-cap technology creates characters that indisputably look animated. For the new movie, the prospect would be that for all the tech advances, the human actors would look less real than they did in the first film. Unless – and here we jump into pure speculation mode – that mo-cap look would be part of the storyline. Be still our cartoonishly beating hearts, could the film take place predominantly — or perhaps just the 3-D mo-cap portions — in Toontown?
Is there room in this world for a 3-D performance captured Eddie Valiant? Could this lure Bob Hoskins back to the role? What are your hopes for a “Roger Rabbit” sequel?