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When it comes to a "Roger Rabbit" sequel, Robert Zemeckis has been sending some very mixed signals

When it comes to a "Roger Rabbit" sequel, Robert Zemeckis has been sending some very mixed signals

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On the heels of last week's release of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" on Blu-ray,  the internet has been buzzing like Marvin Acme's hand buzzer with rumors that Robert Zemeckis may be making plans to return to Toontown. To be specific, that this Academy Award-winning director is finally getting serious about shooting that often-talked-about and long-delayed "Roger Rabbit" sequel.

Most of this talk about a return to Toontown can be traced back January 17th of this year when Robert's latest live-action feature (i.e. "Flight " starring Denzel Washington) had its UK premiere at the Empire Leicester Square theatre in London. And as Zemeckis' producing partners Jack Rapke & Steve Starkey were quizzed on the red carpet about a possible "Roger Rabbit" sequel, Jack & Steve revealed that this long-delayed project was in fact finally moving forward.

(L to R) Steven Starkey and Jack Rapke at the UK
premiere of "Flight." Photo by Stuart Wilson.
Photo courtesy of ImageNet.
All rights reserved

To be specific, Starkey said this sequel " ... is going to get made. Trust me. Yeah, we have a great script and we're just trying to pull it together and see if we can pull it off. But we're ready to go. If somebody says 'go,' we're there." 

Mind you, where this story gets confusing is that -- at this same event on the exact  red carpet -- when Zemeckis was asked if "Roger Rabbit 2" was finally in the works, he replied "No, there won't be a sequel."

Robert Zemeckis (L) chats with Josh Horowitz of MTV News. Copyright
Viacom International Inc. All rights reserved

Well, which is it then? About a month later, during an interview with MTV, Zemeckis did admit that "there is a ('Roger Rabbit' sequel) script and it's good." But beyond that, the director of "Flight" wasn't willing to offer up any details as to why this eagerly awaited project was still in suspended animation. That said, in this exact same MTV interview, Robert speculated that "... if I were to do the sequel, it would be done just like the first one. It would look the same, except, we would obviously present it in 3D in its release. But I would do all the animation hand-drawn." Zemeckis also confirmed that -- should production of a "Roger Rabbit" sequel actually go forward -- this film, like the 1988 original, would be a period piece set in Hollywood in the 1940's.

So what should we make of Robert's kind of contradictory take on this project? Perhaps Kathleen Turner knows her former director better than his producing partners do.  In an interview, Turner (who provided Jessica Rabbit with her sexy, smoky voice) said that she'd welcome the opportunity to revisit this animated character but then added "Yeah, I don't know if that's really going to happen."

Copyright  1988 Touchstone Pictures / Amblin
Productions. All rights reserved

"I don't think Bob Zemeckis is going to do it because he said it was one of the hardest jobs he ever took on." Turner continued. During the production of the original "Roger Rabbit" more than 25 years ago now, Zemeckis was faced with the daily challenge of "creating the technology of integrating animation and live photography."

Turner said that she is not sure the director is still to the task of handling that amount of " ... meticulous and endless work." That said, Kathleen also said that she would welcome the chance to work again with the man who directed her in 1984's "Romancing the Stone." And given how projects that were long thought to be dead have this nasty habit of rising from the grave in Hollywood, Turner would be happy to voice Jessica Rabbit once more. But only if it's Zemeckis calling the shots on "Roger Rabbit 2."

Michael Douglas, Robert Zemeckis and Kathleen Turner on the set of "Romancing
the Stone." Copyright 20th Century Fox. All rights reserved

"If it was Bob, I would say yes (to this project,)" Kathleen insisted.

So what is in fact going on with this rumored "Roger Rabbit" sequel?  Perhaps it's Rich Moore, the director of "Wreck-It Ralph ," who can go down the rabbit hole and finally get definitive answer to this question.

John C Reilly and Rich Moore talk up "Wreck-It Ralph" at the 2012 edition of Comic Con
International. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

After all, Moore will be introducing that "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" 25th anniversary screening which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be presenting at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Thursday, April 4th at 7:30 p.m. And once the screening of this digital restored version of that Oscar winner is over, Rich will be joined onstage by Robert as well as several members of the "Roger Rabbit" cast & crew. Among them actress Joanna Cassidy, voice actor Charles Fleischer, supervising animator Andreas Deja, screenwriter Peter S. Seaman as well as associate producers Don Hahn and Steve Starkey. 

So perhaps during this post-screening discussion, Moore can get Zemeckis to go on the record about whether that long-awaited "Roger Rabbit" sequel is indeed finally in the works. Of course, there's always the possibility that Robert could turn this question around on Rich. And then Zemeckis could ask Moore if the rumors coming out of Walt Disney Animation Studios are true and that "Wreck-It Ralph 2" is already in development.

Copyright Touchstone Pictures / Amblin Productions. All rights reserved

Either way, I'm sure that "Roger Rabbit" & "Wreck-It Ralph" fans will be waiting with baited breath 'til the end of this screening to find which animation-related question get answered during that night's post-screening discussion.

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  • Make it so Robert! P-P-P-PLEASE!

  • Would love to see a well-done sequel.  However, they need to find a very good way to work around the retirement of Bob Hoskins (Eddie Valiant) due to Parkinson's, or go in such a different direction story-wise that Eddie wouldn't logically be involved. And avoid at all costs the idea of  replicating the complicated relationship that existed between Eddie and Roger with another character or recasting the role of Eddie... you can't just drop in another actor and create the same dynamic.

  • @Charlie,

    I totally agree, and I think they've already got that base covered. I heard the big idea for the sequel would be a prequel of sorts about how Roger originally starred in WWII propaganda shorts (a la Mickey, Bugs Bunny, etc.) and at some point Jessica is actually captured by the Nazis. That's naturally only a rumor, but it's been the big one surrounding any proposed Roger Rabbit sequel :)

  • It's hard to believe its been 25 years.  A sequel should have been made 15 years ago . . . but it would be great to make another visit to Toontown.

  • I wonder if the "yes . . . no . . . maybe" responses are because the deal is nearly done and they want to make a big announcement at the D23 Expo later this summer.

  • Perhaps Zemeckis would have been more open to the idea if Disney didn't mercilessly boot him after the "disappointment" of Christmas Carol and the shutdown of his ImageMovers company. If I was the guy, I'd take my business elsewhere.

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