Hello Kitty is the hardest working cat in show business, and the Sanrio star is on her way to becoming a Hollywood one as well.
Warner Bros Entertainment’s California-based New Line Cinema has just announced who’ll be helming Kitty-chan’s first-ever U.S.-produced, and first-ever live-action, movie. Making up one half of the co-directing duo is Jennifer Coyle, whose recent credits include producer for HBO Max’s animated "Harley Quinn" series, "Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost," and "DC Super Hero Girls." Coyle also served as a director for "DC Super Hero Girls" and "Bob’s Burgers."
Sharing directing duties with Coyle will be Japanese-Brazilian artist Leo Matsuda, best known for writing and directing the Disney animated short "Inner Workings" before contributing to "Big Hero 6," "Zootopia" and "Ralph Breaks the Internet" as a story artist.
▼ Coyle (left) and Matsuda (right)
Both directors expressed their enthusiasm and reverence for the character, with Coyle saying “This is not only a rare chance to bring a beloved character to life, but also to spread the message of love, friendship and inclusivity that Hello Kitty stands for. The world so needs her brand of joy and happiness,” and Matsuda saying “Growing up in Brazil with a Japanese family, I was surrounded by the whimsy of Hello Kitty and it served as a reminder that it’s okay to be different.”
The Hello Kitty movie will be a “live-action/animation hybrid,” which likely means that it’ll be following the roadmap laid out by box office successes "Detective Pikachu" and "Sonic the Hedgehog," both of which took characters that started in a hand-drawn illustrated style and gave them thorough 3-D CG makeovers in order for them to share scenes with human actors.
However, the Hello Kitty film will have its own unique difficulty to address, in that the character doesn’t have a mouth, a purposeful design decision made to help fans project whatever emotion they’re feeling at the moment onto the character, making her constantly relatable. Yes, Kitty-chan does manage to speak in her hand-drawn animated appearances without it looking too strange (like that time she got caught up in that space battle where a bunch of people got killed). Giving her dialogue but no mouth is going to look a lot more awkward, though, if she’s placed in real-life environments with human co-stars, so it’ll be interesting to see what sort of solution Coyle and Matsuda settle on when the movie, which currently has no projected release date, comes out.
Sources: PR Times, Comic Natalie via Otakomu, Deadline
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