Kevin Lima to direct The Incredible Mr. Limpet

The big news today is the announcement of Kevin Lima (Enchanted, Tarzan, A Goofy Movie) as director of a remake of The Incredible Mr. Limpet. I’m semi-excited about this because, as a kid, I really loved the original movie. Check out the original trailer below which plays up the live action sequences, and strangely enough, Arthur Godfrey’s cover of the film’s “I Want” song, “I Wish I Were A Fish”.

The animation in The Incredible Mr. Limpet was the last work produced by the original Warner Bros. animation studio, after ceasing production on 32 years of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts. Bill Tytla was brought in to supervise, but essentially the direction was handled by Robert McKimson. After Limpet the studio was disbanded.

The press reports of Lima assuming the director role on a Limpet remake do not mention if the animation sequences will be in CG or hand drawn. I know there were previous attempts in recent years to launch uncanny valley versions starring Robin Williams and/or Jim Carrey (with a Mike Judge script!), using ugly mo-cap human heads grafted onto CG fish bodies. Hopefully they will start from scratch and consider cartoon animation (a la Lima’s Enchanted). Could be a lot of fun.


  • http://jackmunchproductions.blogspot.com/ Malcolm Thomas

    The only problem with Mr. Limpet is that it didn’t have that many characters in the underwater segment. In fact, it didn’t focus that much on the underwater segments in general. Hopefully, Lima will fix these problems and give us a better movie.

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Congratulations to Kevin.

    An enchanted choice.

  • http://www.puppetstudio.com Steve Sherman

    A well-made, “non-Disney”, Disney film for its time. Way back when I was in high school, one of the animators on the film, Ed Love, dropped by our science class and brought a box full of cels from the movie. There were beautifully hand painted cels of Limpet, his girlfriend and the crab. I still have a few.
    Also, a couple of years ago, went up to San Rafael, CA and did some tests with underwater puppets built by the guy who did the “Free Willy” whales, when WB was considering doing a Limpet re-make, which didn’t happen.

  • http://mayersononanimation.blogspot.com Mark Mayerson

    While this film might be a nostalgic favorite for some, is this really a film that’s crying out for a remake? Is the story so compelling or so funny that a new generation is demanding an updated version? Are we living impoverished lives because we lack a new Mr. Limpet?

    No offense to Kevin Lima or anyone who will eventually work on the film, but unless the remake is significantly better than the original, there’s no reason to make this film.

  • Angry Anim

    So would Kevin be directing this through Warner’s? Hasn’t all of his previous live-action ventures been through Disney?

  • http://deleted OtherDan

    This trailer was something else-how marketing has evolved. I’d be willing to bet it’ll be CG. Otherwise, I can’t see why they would do a remake.

  • Ethan

    Warners had to shell out mucho bucks to Jim Carrey since he had a pay-or-play contract when they scrubbed their uncanny valley take on Limpet a few years ago. This new version should start with a clean economic slate, not thirty million plus in the hole for various stupid mistakes of the recent past.

  • http://www.cartoonresearch.com Jerry Beck

    Mark – The original Mr. Limpet is one of my “guilty pleasure” movies. Not great, but its part of my DNA, implanted into my subconscious when I was nine. That said, I have no real desire to see this remade. But Hollywood is remaking everything these days (The Day The Earth Stood Still, King Kong, Willie Wonka, et al) and who’s to say they won’t improve the idea?

    No, this film isn’t crying out to be remade. But I’d rather see a new take on a marginal film like Limpet than an inferior remake of a classic like The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 classic was itself a remake). The new Batman movies are the best yet – but I’ll always love the Adam West series. So let ‘em try it. As I said it my post, it “could be a lot of fun”.

  • tosh

    Has anyone seen this test for the Mr. Limpet Movie with Jim Carrey?

    That has got to be one hideous piece of work. It looks like they stitched Jim Carrey’s face on a fish! Look for it on Youtube soon.

    • sarah

      I’m going to see if I can see jim carreys take on youtube. What I’m wondering is why all these ill-fitted actors for the role of Mr. Limpit are the frontrunners for the part. They’re “boxoffice draw” should not be a factor in casting this part unless WB is aiming for mediocrity in this remake. Jim, Robin, Johnny don’t come close to being suitblable fits for Mr. Limpit and whats-his-name from “Hangover” Zunfanikis-whatever, I can’t even remember his character in that movie.

      Theres only two suitbable actors for the part. Jon Cryer of 2&1/2 Men or Dave Chapelle. The 4 listed in the running for the part are destined to make this remake forgettable at best.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com emily

    I just said exactly what Jerry said to someone. I’d much rather that films that were silly to begin with get remade than films that were great and/or perfect.

  • Christine

    Jerry – I agree. Limpet was burned in my brain as a kid, and this past year my kids have finally seen it on DVD. I’ll be sad when I see the remake, ’cause in my head Ladyfish still has that breathy, low voice..”Astigmatisms must be very nice!”…and they’ll probably have some b-grade actress do it instead, with more double entendres than you can shake a stick at. I weep for the fishy future.

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    A remake movie makes me semi-semi-excited at this point.

  • Killroy McFate

    But will Limpet still take out Nazi subs with his ultrasonic burp? America wants to know!

  • Doz Hewson.

    First of all, this film’s animated segments should NOT be CGI. Last of all, a White Henry Limpet wouldn’t at all fly today with a diverse American filmgoing audience. He should be BLACK; it’d be a trip to view a Brother in that role.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    This was a massive favorite when I was a little kid. The super powers angle hooked me. Limpett was not only granted his crazy wish by fate – he was also given sonic rayblast destructive abilities.

    Unfortunately, when I watched it again a year or two ago, it didn’t hold up. It’s creaky and corny and slow and somehow I forgot it had non-ironic “musical numbers”.

    The new version could be an improvement, if the producers get away from the whole ‘family film’ angle. Keep the fish transformation, keep the super powers, ditch the music, and get someone like David Cronenberg to helm the project and concentrate on the fish transformation and its attending biological complications. X-ray CG transforming sequences with lots of pain! Vestigial human organs crammed into a fish! The madness caused by undergoing such a traumatic and unnatural body-image disruption! That would be exciting.

  • http://thelinknewspaper.com Christopher Olson

    Rather than use CG over hand drawn animation, I could definitely see a claymation, ala the effects we saw in The Life Aquatic.

  • http://jinglebelle.com Paul Dini

    Hopefully the remake will keep the WWII setting from the first movie and the original book. The 1964 movie follows the book pretty closely but curiously leaves out an amusing deep sea conversation between Limpet and Hitler. (Hitler tries to win Limpet over to the Axis, and failing that, directs a sub to attack him.) Maybe Warners thought inserting Hitler as an on-screen character was too dark for a family movie. They certainly had no problem caricaturing him 20 years before.

  • doug holverson

    About an earlier thread: I’m surprised that this isn’t mentioned yet. It even mentions Mr. Beck by name.
    http://www.cinematical.com/2009/06/10/ask-pixar-to-make-a-movie-about-a-girl-why-thats-just-p-c-b/

  • startend

    I usually don’t take kindly to remake news, and I was never into Limpet (even though I saw it twice in my lifetime). But it’s Lima, and I simply adore anything he does! So this is good news.

  • http://www.vujade-ent.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

    Hmm… the question of effects.

    On one hand, they should go with a technique and design that will blend seamlessly with the live action – probably CG.

    On the other hand, they might want the FX design to stand out, to underscore the dreamlike quality of Mr. Limpet’s situation.

    Either direction would be valid.

  • Jim Engel

    I never knew Bill Tytla was involved in the first one—-I dunno WHY particularly, but the idea of Tytla & Bob McKimson working on the same project is fascinating…

    …it’s like hearing Freddie Moore and Art Davis made Milton The Monster or something…

  • thomas moore

    I’m also one of the Limpet DNA-ers, and would like to see it remade. The original’s live action/ animation idea seems a little beside the point now. Do it all live action, maybe with costumes or puppets, or all animated. There’s something a little Bakshi-esque about the original Limpet/ Knotts. I know it sounds a little far out, but why not a Bakshi Limpet?

  • walty

    Good lord, enough with the remakes already.

  • Karl Wilcox

    I guess I’m in the minority, because I see no need for a remake; I
    consider the original movie a classic. The late Don Knotts IS Henry
    Limpet, as much as he still is the one and only Barney Fife. But, no
    matter how badly they ruin it, we will still have (thank goodness) the
    original film.

  • Esperanza

    Please can we tie the phrase ‘Uncanny Valley’ in a sack with weights and just dump it in a river?

  • Bill Perkins

    Interesting news. Like a few have commented “limpet” is part of my DNA and as well a guilty pleasure. The farewell between Limpet and his wife at coney Island has always stood out in my memory of it. Carole Cook did a great job of conveying a very emotional heart felt farewell.
    Viewing it as an adult it does lag a bit in the middle but it also does have its moments. There is a great photo in Friz Freleng’s box set of the “Limpet” crew including Bill Tytla. The original New York times review of the film was still on-line last I checked, it’s a good read. Good luck to Kevin Lima and his crew. I hope the remake captures the simple charm of the original.

  • Pedro Nakama

    This thing has been in development since the mid-90′s. There are several Jim Carey tests out there done by FX shops. All CG. Mike Judge was to direct back then.

    Maybe this time he’ll fight Al-Qaeda.

  • christy

    don knotts RULES!!!!!!!!!! He’s one of my favorite actors and comedians!

    i saw ‘the love god’ and ‘the shakiest gun in the west’ again recently and they are STILL SUPER FUNNY!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O81mnYTlRec

    there’s these cool interviews with him on you tube here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8jKoNes3Ck&feature=fvw

    too bad he’s not around to make a cameo. RIP.

  • acetate

    I’d be up for a Limpet remake if it’s good. Then they can re-do The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. Great music score for that film by the way!

  • Some Ocean Pout

    “Please can we tie the phrase ‘Uncanny Valley’ in a sack with weights and just dump it in a river?” – Esperanza

    But it’s so darn useful! Hell, even my friends who don’t give a pair of fetid dingo kidneys about animation know *exactly* what it means.

    Back on-topic. I remember reading about this years and years ago and had no idea it was still actually being considered as an actual move remake somebody actually wants to do. I would also like to see “Enchanted”-style hand-drawn animation. Other than that I have absolutely zero opinion about this.

    But I do have to yell at Jerry because this annoys the hell out of me: “WILLY WONKA” WAS *NOT* A REMAKE!!! Please tell me that you are aware that there is a book. (Oddly, Tim Burton’s film is a closer adaptation of the book, but the 70′s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” we all remember is by a country mile a better movie.)

    Anyway, I would watch the hell out of F.P.’s Cronenburgian “Mr. Limpet”