Rebooting The Looney Tunes Show
HD: And there was a worry early on that everyone expressed: What will it sound like having Bugs talk to a character voiced by Kristen Wiig, who's not doing something crazy with her voice? And it ends up being very funny and compelling, particularly in this format, where the show has enough room to breathe. You get to know them more -- there's not that breakneck pace that you associate with the shorts. It's just a different thing.
Tony Cervone: Once we settled on the sitcom format, everything began to feel right. What's most important to us is that we maintain the integrity of the characters and that we feel something when we watch them. It came down to feeling. Our favorite cartoons are the Chuck Jones cartoons -- they're the most human. That's what we want out of it. But a lot of Bugs' actions in [the classic cartoons] are because he's in mortal danger. You take the mortal danger away, and you wonder why he's still acting like that. It kind of has a ripple effect and it does change a lot of stuff.
BD: What was your mission in redesigning the characters?
Jessica Borutski: My mission was to make them look fresh and new for a new generation of kids. So I wanted to keep about all the things that I love about the characters and just streamlined all of the shapes that I like and changed some proportions a bit. And with Bugs I made him purple for fun.
BD: What is the dynamic like here between Bugs and Daffy?
HD: Bugs is still funny, smart and accomplished, and Daffy is clearly his nitwitted friend. But I got this idea watching them as a kid that Bugs found something amusing about him. And in our world, Bugs is unflappable and it's nice to have a character that's just flappable -- Bugs finds something amusing about it or just tolerates it.
RR: And the good thing about Porky is that Daffy gets to be the alpha male around Porky. There's like a tier of friendship. And we have Porky being always happy and wanting to be part of the gang. So we're pretty relentless with Porky -- he's easy to pick on, but he's just thrilled to be hanging out with them.
BD: What is the role of Merrie Melodies and the Road Runner/Wile E. Coyote shorts?
Spike Brandt: We think of [them] as bonus material on a DVD. It's just extra. It wasn't hard enough coming up with one format, so we decided to tackle two more.
TC: CGI works really well for them because we get to create one environment -- this desert environment -- and shoot cartoons in it. And they're silent characters, so we don't have to worry about lip sync. And by their nature, they're all about speed and height. So we could do a lot of cool stuff with the camera, so they translate very well.
SB: That was something that we tested very early on and everybody was really excited by the results of that. We tried to hang on to that.
TC: And the sitcom part of the show is very verbal-based comedy, even though it's an animated show, and it's kind of cool to have this section that is completely non-verbal. It's all based on pantomime.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.