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SDCC2012: The "Hotel Transylvania" Panel Report

On Thursday, July 12, at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2012, Sony Pictures Animation hosted a panel to discuss its new animated movie, Hotel Transylvania, hosted by producer Michelle Murdocca and director Genndy Tartakovsky, who reecently signed an overall agreement with the studio.

Hotel Transylvania CastMurdocca explained that the pitch for Hotel Transylvania was brought to Sony 10 years ago.  The concept revolved around the idea of what classic monsters would do on a vacation and what kind of hotel they’d stay in.  Dracula’s daughter Mavis was added.  It then became about Dracula as an overprotective dad dealing with a teenage daughter who wants to see humanity for herself.  Tartakovsky first became involved a year and a half ago.

For Tartakovsky, the appeal came in working with old and well-known characters: “For me, it was re-imagining Dracula for a new generation in a classic sense.”  Having grown up on the Abbott and Costello monster movies, Tartakovsky liked the idea of a comedic take on Dracula.  They were able to use their own designs with CG animation while still being respectful of what has come before.

The animation style itself was heavily influenced by classic Warner Bros. cartoons. “Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, the Warner Bros. cartoons had the energy in the animation,”  Tartakovsky said.  He wanted to push the animators to go beyond the ideas of traditional feature animation and break out of that mold.

Hotel Transylvania boasts an impressive voice cast of comedians, including Adam Sandler as Dracula and Andy Samberg as Jonathan.  However, Tartakovsky pointed out that there wasn’t a lot of ad-libbing. The cast would perform the same line over and over.  “They’re all about perfecting the joke” Murdocca added.  She also hinted at some musical numbers, justifying the casting of Cee-Lo as Murray the Mummy.

Hotel TransylvaniaAfter treating the audience to never before seen clips, Tartakovsky answered some audience questions, including what his new home at Sony means for his other projects.  While he is no longer involved in a Dark Crystal remake and there are no future plans for Sym-Bionic Titan, Tartakovsky has made multiple attempts to get a Samurai Jack movie off the ground.  After having gone through a number of producers, including J.J. Abrams, nothing has materialized.  “It will get made,” Tartakovsky said. “It feels closer and closer.”

Tartakovsky remains pleased that Dexter’s Laboratory is still talked about and still exists.  “It’s the proudest thing I’ve ever done”.  Keen-eyed viewers will be able to spot a Dexter sticker on Jonathan’s scooter in Hotel Transylvania.

Hotel Transylvania will be in theaters September 28, 2012.

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