According to THR, Christmas 2020 is shaping up to be a violent affair, as the live-action adaptation of your classic cat-on-mouse brawl Tom and Jerry (whatever that means) shifts dates from April 2021. Tim Story will direct the Warner Bros. release. Yes, that means we’re in for consecutive Decembers of feline-based entertainment, together with 2019’s Cats adaptation.
Story most recently directed this year’s Shaft and the Ride Along films, starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. The script was written by Eric Gravning, Katie Silberman (Booksmart), April Prosser, and Kevin Costello (Brigsby Bear). It stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Michael Peña, who each delved into family-friendly fare this year with The Addams Family and Dora and the Lost City of Gold, respectively. Also among the cast are Ken Jeong (Crazy Rich Asians), and SNL’s Colin Jost.
Tom, the cat, will be voiced by Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon). But fans of the original cartoon know that the titular characters rarely spoke. The show was at its best when they were pounding the living crap out of one another, with the occasional wail in the event a frying pan was aggressively introduced to a face, or a tail lit aflame.
Apparently the movie’s story will center on the pair getting booted from their home, forced to take up residence in a swanky New York hotel. Moretz’s character, who works there, risks getting fired if she’s unable to evict Jerry (the mouse) before an uppity wedding the hotel’s hosting. And that’s where Tom comes in, the job of ridding the space of the mischievous rodent all his own.
It sounds enough like the cartoons (save for the human roles) to get some laughs here and there, but surely there will be some chatter leading up to the film’s release, many fearful of its suspected violence for the eyes of impressionable young viewers, others upset the studio will rob it of its most enduring quality.
Tom and Jerry was created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera way back in 1940. Between its inception and 1958, the pair won 7 Academy Awards for Animated Short Film. They produced 114 shorts in all. Chuck Jones later took over, producing 34 more until 1967. Spinoffs followed, and an animated feature film, Tom and Jerry: The Movie, was released in 1992, starring Richard Kind as the voice of Tom.
Before next Christmas’s big theatrical release, you can watch the duo battle on Boomerang’s The Tom and Jerry Show.