Tom & Jerry. Tom & Jerry.

When Warner Bros.’s hybrid feature Tom & Jerry came out earlier this year, many critics lamented that there wasn’t much of Tom and Jerry themselves in it. That was very much by design, according to writer Pat Casey.

Speaking on The GHZ Podcast (listen here), Casey, co-writer of Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog movie and its upcoming sequel, recalled a meeting with the producers of Tom & Jerry:

I haven’t even watched the new movie, but — this is maybe uncool to say, but you know what, I’m going to say it — they called us in for that movie, and they were sort of like, “How do you make a Tom and Jerry movie?”

And we were like, “Well, the main thing is Tom and Jerry have to be the main characters. If someone asks what this movie is about, the answer has to be: it’s about a cat and a mouse who are trying to kill each other. You can have some human characters and they can have some stuff going on. But they cannot be the protagonists!” … And they were like, “Well, get the hell out.” That’s not what they wanted to hear.

Casey contrasts this with his and co-writer Josh Miller’s approach on Sonic. Told by the studio that Sonic needed a human friend, they introduced local sheriff Tom (played by James Marsden), who teams up with the hedgehog in a kind of buddy-cop setup.

But they were clear on where the focus should be: “We were like, ‘This has to be a movie about Sonic.’ We didn’t want to do a movie that was about a human and Sonic was just a wacky sidekick.”

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Deputy Editor of Cartoon Brew.