Sony is getting ready to power up freakishly forearmed sailor Popeye and giving him the CGI and 3D treatment. Variety reports that Spider-Man producer Avi Arad is on the project with Mike Jones set to write the script. Says Arad:
“Scott called me and said, ‘I have something for you,’” said Arad, who grew up watching Popeye shorts in movie houses in his native Israel. “I literally started singing the famous Popeye song (after securing the rights). What always blew me away is the level of the animation. It was so beautiful and unbelievably detailed.”
I’m going to go ahead and believe that was the case at the time Arad saw those shorts. The character was adapted into a live-action film in 1980 starring Robin Williams and directed by Robert Altman. Sony is already getting into the classic cartoon re-adaptation business with The Smurfs set to hit theaters on July 29, 2011. For more on the history of the sailor man, hit the jump.
Here’s Variety’s solid summation of the character’s background:
Created by E.C. Segar, Popeye first appeared in the already established “Thimble Theater” comicstrip in 1929. Introduced as a walk-on character, Popeye eventually became the strip’s star.
The spinach-loving hero, who spawned the longest-running series of talking animated shorts, is considered a merchandising gold mine, with Popeye toys, books, puzzles, and games. Studio says the character, whose likeness is used widely to hawk green veggies, is the world’s No. 1 licensing character in food.
And here’s a realistic rendering of the character by Academy-award winning make-up artist Rick Baker. Sony probably won’t go with this look for their movie.