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Feature Film

Rob Letterman Will Direct “Captain Underpants” for DreamWorks

Tie on that cape and pull up those tightie-whities, because word is out that DreamWorks Animation has completed a script for the bigscreen animated adaptation of the Captain Underpants book series.

Nicholas Stoller (Get Him to the Greek, The Muppets) wrote the script and Rob Letterman (Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens) is set to direct. A release date has not yet been set.

Written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey, the children’s novels focus on George and Harold, two fourth graders who use hypnosis to turn their principal into their favorite comic book superhero, Captain Underpants. Since the release of the first book The Adventures of Captain Underpants in 1997, ten titles and three spin-offs have been released with several debuting at number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Captain Underpants has the added distinction of being “the most banned book in America.”

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

  • As someone who read the books when he was a little third grader, all I can say to this news is…why. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING.

    Turbo, that was a dumb but harmless concept. I don’t even mind the Peabody and Sherman movie. But why must Dreamworks make an adaptation of the most juvenile book series ever made? I’m one to refrain from posting negative commentary on CB, but I don’t see much good coming out of this.

  • Impheatus

    Nice! I’m definitely keeping an eye on this.

  • Harrison

    “Stop adapting other people’s properties! You’re not that good at it!”

    I don’t know, I thought me and a lot of people thought How to Train Your Dragon was pretty good.

    • It was more “inspired by” than actually based on it, though you have a point. I personally think it takes more from the visuals than the actual stories. But hey, it got me into the series, which I love now, so it did something as an adaptation!

  • Roberto Severino

    Captain Underpants was a childhood staple for me. I wish the studio that animated the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movies had gotten a hold of this instead. I could be wrong.

  • Dana B

    When I was a kid, I had a good laugh at Underpants. But honestly, who wants to go to the movies to see a fat guy wearing nothing but undergarments?(besides kids with a bad sense of humor that is) and relevance is a big issue, too. Are kids today gonna know what/who Capt. Underpants is?

    DW always seems to be on an up and down coaster ride with their films. Why can’t they just keep making good films like dragons and croods? I know not everyone can hit a home run, but DW likes to take questionable risks…

  • Jessica

    So we’re getting a movie based on a book series all about poop and fart jokes from the director of Shark Tale? Wonderful. There’s absolutely no way this could go wrong.

  • Tim

    I don’t know that it’s fair to compare it to this, but How to Train Your Dragon was also an adaptation of a rather childish series of books, and look how well it turned out. Not that I have much confidence that it will end up being good, but you never know.

    • SarahJesness

      To be fair, the film version ended up being nothing like the book. But it was still very, very good. DreamWorks is pretty hit or miss with all of their films, adaptation or not.

  • jhalpernkitcat

    Finally, a movie where toilet humor and fart jokes are perfectly at home.
    In all seriousness though, I recall reading at least four of those books on the bus to and from camp as a middle schooler courtesy of the Bus counselor, and those things were pretty amazingly hysterical. One can only hope the movie will retain the fun spirit of that series.

  • Harry Bastard

    I’ll reserve judgement ’til I’ve seen some character designs. Dav Pilkey’s stuff is awfully simple n’ graphic…not something that translates easily to 3d, but we’ll see.

    • patnlewis

      Yeah, why not do it in 2D instead? I’m hoping at least they’ll have some hand-drawn sequences, when they show the kids’ “Captain Underpants” comic books come to life.

      • Harry Bastard

        The Sony guys did a bunch of Flash shorts to promo Cloudy 2, Aaron Simpson showed ’em off on his site. It’s a good idea, changes up the visuals and adds some verve to the 3d.

  • Funkybat

    If these big studios MUST go the “adaptation” route, I wish they would go with something more oddball but still popular, such as one of the works of Doug TenNapel or Mike Kunkel (with their involvement, of course.)

    Personally, I’m still hoping to see that movie version of Grant Morrison’s We3 on screen, or something even more ambitious like Transmetropolitan, Anya’s Ghost or Lackadaisy. Of course, given Hollywood’s track record with adapting indie comics, maybe it’s better to not even try. “Ghost World” is about the only one I can think of that was a solid artistic success, and that was live-action.

  • George Comerci

    Hoo boy…just when DreamWorks was starting to legitimately look promising…see, the big issue I have here is animation should appeal to everyone. But in this case, all it’s going to “appeal” to is immature 7 year old boys. I think I’ll pass on this one.

    • Mike

      That’s kind of pegging animation as a genre rather than a medium, isn’t it? I don’t think all animation should be targeted to appeal to all audiences.

  • Hearing that Captain Underpants is the “most banned book in America” is kind of hilarious. Shouldn’t people be preoccupied with more relevant issues? This doesn’t sound like the most promising project, but I want to see how the parents groups react when this hits the big screen.

    • jhalpernkitcat

      Yeah, it makes me laugh pretty hard too to know that a book chock full of toilet humor and a bald guy in a cape and underwear is considered taboo when there are far worse books out there that deserve that title.

  • SarahJesness

    Heh, I loved those books as a kid though I don’t remember them well enough to say if I’d like them now. I’ll keep an eye on this project for nostalgia’s sake. DreamWorks is pretty hit or miss when it comes to quality. A lot of their stuff is mediocre, but when they’re good, they’re REALLY good. A lot of people are concerned because this is an adaptation, but the book is a comedy, and DW has put out some pretty good animated comedies.

    So, I don’t really have much of an opinion on this yet. Neutrality. I’m sure I’ll be able to say something when we get a trailer or something.

  • Animator606432

    Gah, the film that finally put the nail in the coffin for Jack Black’s career. Seriously though, where has that guy been? I know he did a voice for Kung Fu Panda but what about live action?

  • tredlow

    I liked the books. I thought they were quite subversive and self-aware for all the toilet humor they do. If the movie turns out good, then great. If it turns out bad, then whatever.

  • If the name fits….

    Seems appropriate. Since all Dreamworks seems to produce lately is Poop. Jeffrey, Bill Damashke, and the rest of the “Creative Executives” are really cranking out some gems. Keep up the great work boys. Can’t wait for “Trolls” Magical.

  • Kevin Martinez

    I can just see it now.

    – Captain Underpants will only vaguely look and act like he does in the books,

    – He’ll meet a love interest who has the personality of room temperature Cream of Wheat. She’ll hate him at first, but then she’ll decide that she loves him.
    – He’ll have to save the world from the villain du jour’s evil scheme or contraption or whatever. He’ll fail during the middle of Act II, and then learn to “never give up”
    – The whole movie will have this incongruous, awkwardly shoehorned-in moral about family or “believing in your dreams”. Then cue the pop song for the credits.

    I can’t wait to see the menagerie of B-plus list celebrities they’ve gotten for the voices, and the horribly edited trailer that will make me wish I was dead.

    • mick

      George and Harold are in Mr Krupp’s detention all summer. This time he’s really going to teach them a lesson …. but before he does… ‘hey now you’re an allstar get your game on go plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay….’ . ….

  • Lord Sk8er

    I don’t even know whether or not to even try to be optimistic for this film. ugh.

  • Why is “Captain Underpants” the most banned book in America? Like, really? There are other books that have done more to deserve that title… Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey we’re all looking at you.

    As for the film, I don’t think it’ll do well simply because I can’t possibly imagine the series working in a CGI feature film format. I think it’d work better as a series of flash animated shorts. But that’s just my opinion.