Charlie Chaplin to be CG animated in India Charlie Chaplin to be CG animated in India
Bad Ideas

Charlie Chaplin to be CG animated in India

You know this can’t be good. A press release from Mumbai brings news of a new television series to be based on legendary screen comedian Charlie Chaplin:

Charlie Chaplin is to be brought to life as a cartoon character via an Indian-French collaboration that will see the legendary British comedian featured in an animated television series. DQ Entertainment, an animation and special effects firm based in the southern city of Hyderabad, says it is to reproduce the entertainer’s slapstick in 3D and computer-generated images for television.

The eight-million-euro (11.5-million-dollar) project is a joint venture with French media groups Method Animation and MK2, according to the companies. Further details were set to be announced by DQ Entertainment at a press conference in Mumbai on Friday. DQ and Method Animation will make a total of 104 six-minute episodes in India and France, Method’s chairman Aton Soumache told AFP in Paris last November. The animated shorts — aimed at children aged six and above — will not have any dialogue and are set to hit screens from early next year.

“We’ve been working for more than a year on the graphics concept to find an original way of adapting Chaplin’s world,” said Soumache. “It won’t be a realistic portrayal but more like a puppet in an offbeat universe. We’ll put him in modern situations but at the same keeping his poetic, child-like view of the world with a retro feel.” The episodes have been inspired by sketches and gags culled from some 70 short films made by Chaplin involving his trademark bowler-hatted vagabond character sporting a toothbrush moustache, ill-fitting suit and twirling cane. But there will also be original content, Soumache added.

Hoo-boy! I predict disaster. I doubt it will be even half as good as Edna, the 2005 short film by two students from SupInfoCom (Arles, France), or even an Otto Messmer Chaplin cartoon from the teens:

  • I think it will be boring. That’s just my opinion though.

  • Chris Smigliano

    Think it might be even as bad as DePatie-Freling’s saturday morning tv series BAGGY PANTS, in which they used a cat based on Chaplin?

  • mrscriblam

    this is a chaplin fan’s worst nightmare

  • David

    “brought to life” should be changed to “sentenced to death” in these adaptation’s press releases.

  • Marc Baker

    I remember reading an article in People magazine about an earlier attempt to make ‘Charlie Chaplin’ cartoon in the late 80’s, but that never happened, or if it did, i probably wasn’t aware of it.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    You wish some people would leave dead celebrities alone.

  • Casper the friendly executive

    I suppose there’s a chance that with much wit and style and talent something like this might actually turn out to be good – especially as the French animation schools turn out some amazing stuff and they are the supervising nation.

    But over a hundred five minute episodes? Why have the words Robonic and Stooges popped into my head?

  • Can it possibly be any *worse* than “Baggy Pants and the Misfits”?

  • Robert Barker

    Did Chaplin become Public Domain? Jeez, how depressing, the student film, the cartoon, and the French and Indian collaboration.

  • This is great news for the legion of six year old Charlie Chaplin fans out there!

  • Hold on – it doesn’t look ANYthing like Robert Downey Jr. !

  • Christopher Cook

    The actual title of that 1975 show was “Baggy Pants & The Nitwits” (the Nitwits being cartoon versions of Laugh-In characters Tyrone and Gladys and voiced by their Laugh-In stars, Arte Johnson and Ruth Buzzi).

  • Tim Hodge

    When will people realize, it’s more than audiences weren’t simply responding to the look of an actor but his/her acting choices and personal quirks?
    You can’t resurrect an actor no matter how good your technology is. It’s no more than a puppet show using a corpse.

  • Mesterius

    Bad Revival Universe suddenly got worse.

  • JB Kaufman

    The “public domain” question is pertinent. I smell a rat here because of the involvement of MK2, a company that was also involved in the (very good) Chaplin DVDs that were authorized by the Chaplin estate. Have they now taken advantage of that connection to do this? Shame on them.

  • How about French-Indian collaboration to bring Jerry Lewis back to life?

  • Dan

    Someday all of our jobs will all be in India, watch and see!

  • Lamont

    Well at least it’s pantomime and he doesn’t talk.

  • Wow, I always wondered what animation would look like after I gargled down 12 Vicodin, chased it with an industrial-sized jug of Cisco, while generously inhaling Weldwood Contact Cement from a gallon can, then immediately placing my head near the intersection of Vineland and Chandler and allowing it to be thoroughly run over flat by one of those dreadfully long buses, the kind with the accordian in the middle, that the city bought to “class up” it’s fleet in hopes of attracting someone other than psycopaths, illegal immigrants and DUI offenders. But on a kinder note, when will morons realize that using CG does not excuse one from applying actual animation skills and timing? Well enough from me—gotta run. Think I’m gonna whip up some homemade Bordeaux and Brie, that shit looks pretty easy to make with today’s technology.

  • mitten

    DQ entertainment are the bottom feeders of the animation industry. They keep entering into multi million dollar (or Euro) deals with big names with no ideas. They are an industry-killer.

    They will ruin the cherished memory of Chaplin, because they are the antithesis of what he worked so hard for. They need to stick to disney knock-off’s and 10 cent anime garbage – which they do best!

  • Stephen

    I love SupInfoCom’s student films. It was worth reading about the ghastliness to come just to get a chance to see Edna.

  • Is this the same company that’s doing a CG version of the Marx Bros.’ “Duck Soup” and giving Harpo a voice ?

  • Paul N

    Hard to imagine how this project could be worse than “Edna.” That was pretty awful.

  • cliffclaven

    Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, The Three Stooges and The Little Rascals as well as more recent pretenders like Jerry Lewis, Mr. Bean and numerous sitcoms have all survived reanimation. Be grateful it’s not possible for DQ to push real Chaplin off the market, the way studios used to buy up and bury films they were remaking.

  • Robert Barker

    They will not ruin the cherished memory of Chaplin anymore than Steve Martin ruined the memory of Pink Panther movies. Or Sgt. Bilko episodes.

  • Brad

    I found this on Dr. Forrest’s Cheeze Factory yesterday – it’s a sketch from a Russian TV show: “What if Chaplin starred in a certain movie that Keanu later remade?”

  • kat

    DQ Entertainment is not that bad at all. The above link is for the work they did on Jungle Book. And that looks 100 times better than the Edna short. Hope they do a good job.

    And I think it’s Cartoon Brew which is heading for disaster with it’s pessimistic attitude towards countries which are still relatively new in animation.

  • Mike Fontanelli

    What’s their next project, “Buster Laughs”? I’m with Reccardi on this.

  • Seulement

    Today’s audience doesn’t recall the 1990’s, let alone 1918 film stars. It’s baffling how a Chaplin project would even sell, for that reason.

  • dr. giraud

    The Chaplin estate must be involved. If they’re not, the companies involved will be sued.

    And if the estate is involved, that’s the saddest part of the whole business.

  • Rooniman

    We’re doomed.

  • kv

    Agree with Kat. Lets wait to pass judgement :)
    Anyways on another note – Its weird how some comments here seem to assume they have already seen the animation.

  • Is it me, or do you hate life because of animation?

  • BTW, Roger Rabbit anybody?

  • A new medium is born, long live “Necro-Mation”!
    Can’t wait to ignore this stinker.

  • Horror has a new face.

  • Crakin’ Jackin’

    Dan says:
    Someday all of our jobs will all be in India, watch and see!

    TODAY a lot of our jobs are in Australia, New Zealand and UK!!
    Oh! My! Gawd!

  • smokey

    Dan says:
    Someday all of our jobs will all be in India, watch and see!

    Day after someday, Africans will start eating proper meals! How the hell will we get food to throw away then?!

  • “Illusion of Life” strikes again!…

  • Aside from the obvious objections to Chaplin as a CG subject, I question the acceptability of the figure animation, which looks very crude compared to ho wit has evolved in features of recent years.
    There is a serious lack of understanding of the subtle movements
    that were a major part of Chaplin. This looks more like a student exercise, not like professional work, which the business is supposed to be about. Or have I forgotten that the business has been taken over by amateurs?

  • There was an image of a CGI Chaplin with this news in the paper yesterday (the sun, UK newspaper). Presuming that was an actual picture of this project, is said image online anywhere and if so how has it not been linked to here?

  • Ummmmm…

    Chaplin isn’t British.

    Am I REALLY the only person to notice that?

  • Donald Benson


    Chaplin was born in London, England and came to America as an adult with a touring comedy troupe. He ended up in California, signed on with Keystone and made America his home until his “exile” to Switzerland. It’s my understanding he maintained his British citizenship.

    Back on topic, I’d be more optimistic if they created an original character — an Indian set in modern-day India, perhaps — and used him to re-imagine Chaplin’s themes and stories.

    For most audiences, the Little Tramp, like Mickey Mouse, has devolved into an icon. Shedding the visual cues and cliches would make it possible to evoke what Chaplin’s original audiences saw: a genuine outsider, at once playful and desperate, up against a very real, unwhimsical world.

  • Mesterius

    As for Edna – well, let me put it this way: I never before thought I’d see Chaplin perform his potato dance with every bit of acting and humor lost…

  • Fidel

    For a better animated version of Chaplin or Chaplinesque humor and personality, watch: “Wall-E” or even more literal: “Mickey Plays Papa,” the 1930’s cartoon in which Mickey Mouse imitates his fellow Depression-era icon.

  • Fidel

    Here is Mickey Plays Papa:

  • Its been rather interesting to read the article by Jerry and the spate of comments that have followed. Allow me to introduce myself to the group..I am Sumedha Saraogi, Vice President, Global Business Development and Branding, from DQE, and would like to record some comments – not so much to defend our French Co-production partnership of Charlie Chaplin or offer counter arguments to the doubts that have been raised – but to inform our group of the work undertaken and accomplished ( & by the talented teams (and I say this with a lot of pride!) at DQE, India & Method, Paris.

    We do infact take a lot of pride in what we do at DQE and believe that we have managed to give international co-productions the “Indian advantage”.. we ourselves have made substantial investments in the properties we have co-produced because we believed in the strength of the brands, the creative expertise of our partners and our own ability to deliver world class animation. We have brought onboard writers, editors, voice artists from Europe and UK on the TV series such as The Jungle Book, Lassie, IronMan and others since we believe in an ‘all inclusive’ global approach that brings together the strength of all partners at optimal pricing to produce high quality animation. I know that sounds a little lofty, but standing testimony to this statement are our productions such as the Iron Man TV series, Casper’s scare school, Tutenstein ( which won us an Emmy in 2007), 3 seasons of Mickey Mouse Club House, The Penguins of Madagascar, Todd World with 5 Emmy Nominations, Pinky & Perky, 2 Seasons of Large Family and several others……The Jungle Book TV series and TV feature (100% owned and developed by us) that we are now producing is being worked in tandem as a UK-German-French-Indian effort and has been pre-sold in 70 countries. Clearly we have a lot at stake here and are going to do what it takes!

    Charlie Chaplin has a cult following around the world and we are very much part of that following and love and respect Charlie Chaplin and his work as much as anyone else. He was indeed a global phenomenon and I honestly feel it is quite inconsequential whether he was British or any other nationality! Our French co-producer Method Animation is extremely well known for their high quality creative work and are in consultation with the original rights owners for the designing and scripting. DQE in India will produce the 3D CGI animation only after approval from all concerned. Rest assured the legendary entertainers’ legacy will be well protected and will once again entertain kids and families of yet another generation. We will surely make him proud….

  • Russell H

    I’m reminded of what Hal Roach reportedly said when told that the Laurel & Hardy films he’d produced were going to be colorized: “Will that make them funnier?”

  • Baloo in glasses

    So you 100% developed your own version of Jungle Book did you? I love those fresh and original character designs.

  • Anna

    PLEASE, don’t make an animated Chaplin series. TV nowadays ruins everything, and cartoons are getting worse and worse. I say how dare they try to remake Charlie Chaplin and his works? The originals should never be replaced. The only reason I would ever want a Charlie Chaplin cartoon was if it were made by Chaplin himself, then I know the masterpiece that is the Little Tramp wouldn’t be ruined. I have to admit, the CG Tramp is cute, but you can’t count on just that. Kids these days need to see the originals, not a phony remake, but no one has any culture anymore. Please, don’t disrespect the most famous figure in cinema history with a silly cartoon….

  • @Baloo in glasses- If you really loved it, i guess you must be a 6-12 yr old then…… and if you find it satirically funny of what you said- hahahaha- i can laugh at a fool like you without u bothering to make me do so with you comments.

    @ Every cynic predicting doomsday and mayhem and your loss of jobs to India and Africa and so on…..
    HI :D
    we will throw you all a piece of some leftover bread to see you live on and waste your time and life rubbishing others creative and productive talents.
    Ever wondered how your pathetic views mean nothing to the hardworking world that zooms past you everyday?
    b.t.w… everything in this world only Improves….. let the kids of today admire the works of today…. you can carry on ruining your already pathetic lives with dismay and and never ending stupidity.
    All you guys help me find so much feel good positivity in me… i’m so better than you all..DIE you all DIE! :)