45-year-old animator and director Genndy Tartakovsky’s childhood was like something out of a Cold War thriller when his family defected to the US when he was seven.
An interest in comics and animation led him from his native Chicago to art school in Los Angeles and with the success of Hotel Transylvania 2 in the US he’s one of the most sought after animators and artists in the business – besides his own films he was a storyboard artist on Iron Man 2 and animation director on the Powerpuff Girls movie. Coming up on his roster? A project your granddad might have heard of – Popeye.
Moviehole spoke to Tartakovsky in Los Angeles.
There seems to be a theme of mixed couples in Hotel Transylvania 2. How intentional was that?
There’s a bigger theme of acceptance running through the movie. We’re careful not to get too topical but also not too preachy. We’re trying to show everybody’s point of view in a comedic way. It was balanced throughout the movie
I’d actually be interested to see how kids pick up on it. Will they see the obvious metaphors or will they just see that it’s ‘being married to a monster’?
How did the character of Mavis (Selena Gomez) change and how did you make sure she still had what audiences of the first movie loved, considering she’s now a mother?
One of the main things we struggled with in the beginning was that in the first movie Mavis was a very outgoing teenager and in this one she’s a helicopter mom – how do you not kill the core audience that likes her?
So in those California sequences we wanted to make sure she was having fun and we’d see the youthful side of her.
How about making sure the movie itself is it’s own thing even though it has source material to refer to?
Going into a sequel is hard. There are all sorts of expectations – you want it to be better, you want to bring new things in, why are people going to go and see it again? It’s very competitive out there.
We try to push everything from the first film and try to make it look better, but it really comes down to the story. What’s going to be new about it, what’s going to be exciting for the audience to buy into?
The success of the first one was because of the visual language, the extreme animation and the energy and tone of it. For sure we stay truthful and sincere to the first one, we just try to push it even further.
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