Saturday, April 27, 2019

'Rugrats' Live-Action Movie Lands 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' Director David Bowers

Paramount Players and Nickelodeon Movies' upcoming live-action/CG hybrid Rugrats movie has found its director!

Paramount Pictures/Photofest; Inset: Michael Hickey/Getty Images
'Rugrats;' Inset: David Bowers

David Bowers, who directed three of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, has been tapped to direct the project, which is being produced by Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins, series creator Gabor Csupo and Karen Rosenfelt.

Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures announced last year that they were relaunching Nickelodeon's beloved '90s animated series Rugrats with a 26-episode new season from Nickelodeon and a live-action film featuring CGI characters from Paramount Players.

Rugrats focuses on a group of toddlers, Tommy Pickles, Chuckie Finster, twins Phil and Lil DeVille, and Angelica Pickles, and their day-to-day lives that became adventures in their imaginations. The original Rugrats Nicktoon series launched in August of 1991 and instantly became a groundbreaking phenomenon, spawning consumer products, three hit theatrical releases, various video games and cementing its place in pop culture history through its iconic characters, storytelling and unique visual style. Rugrats was in production for nine seasons over the course of 13 years, and also spawned three spin-off series, All Grown Up!, Angelica and Susie's School Daze and Rugrats: Tales from the Crib. The series earned four Daytime Emmy Awards, six Kids' Choice Awards and its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The live-action feature follows a trio of animated movies released between 1998 and 2003: The Rugrats Movie (1998), Rugrats in Paris (2000) and Rugrats Go Wild (2003). Paramount Players has set a Jan. 29, 2021, release date for the new movie. Rugrats is the seventh film title announced in connection with this cross-company initiative.

David Goodman wrote the script for the new incarnation, in which the babies will be CG creations. Goodman has gained notice over the past two years as president of the Writers Guild of America West.

Bowers has the background for just that job. He was an animator who co-directed Flushed Away and Astro Boy before segueing into live-action with a trio of Wimpy Kid movies (Rodrick Rules, Dog Days, and The Long Haul). He also wrote the screenplay for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul and Danny and the Dinosaur. He is repped by Verve, Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment and Newhouse Porter.

Through its full run, Rugrats occupied several main voice actors. E.G. Daily provided the voice of Tommy Pickles, except in the unaired pilot where Tami Holbrook provided the voice; Christine Cavanaugh was the original voice of Chuckie Finster, but left the show for personal reasons and was subsequently replaced by Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons) in 2002. The fraternal twins, Phil and Lil (as well as their mother, Betty) were voiced by Kath Soucie; Dil Pickles and Timmy McNulty were voiced by Tara Strong (Fairly OddParents). Cheryl Chase initially auditioned for the role of Tommy, but was passed up. When the show came to series, she was brought on board to be cast as the voice of Angelica Pickles. Dionne Quan was the voice of Kimi Finster. Susie was primarily voiced by Cree Summer, though in two episodes where she could not be in attendance E.G. Daily filled in. Other regular voice actors included Melanie Chartoff as Didi Pickles, Jack Riley as Stu Pickles, Tress MacNeille as Charlotte Pickles, Michael Bell as Drew Pickles and Chas Finster, and Amanda Bynes as Taffy. David Doyle provided the voice of Grandpa Lou Pickles until his death in 1997, when Joe Alaskey took over until the end of the series. In 2000, Debbie Reynolds joined the cast as Lulu Pickles, Lou's second wife, and remained until the series' end.

For the revival, original creators Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain are returning to the TV series as executive producers. Writer and actor Jenny Jaffe (Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Love Week, Big Hero 6: The Series) is also working on the revival. Nickelodeon’s Rugrats is currently produced in Burbank, Calif. Additional news of the TV series, airdate and casting--and Reptar sightings--will be announced in the coming months.

Rugrats is part of Paramount Player's, the division of Paramount Pictures that develops and produces co-branded feature films with Viacom’s leading media networks, push to find new life in some of its old titles and brands. Dora the Explorer and Are You Afraid of the Dark? are two other Nickelodeon series that will be hitting the big screen in the coming years.

Rugrats also joins the recently announced return of Blue’s Clues (as Blue’s Clues & You) and Are You Afraid of the Dark? as the latest classic original series Nickelodeon is bringing back for today’s generation of kids and families. Nickelodeon produced and aired an all-new Hey Arnold! special in 2017, and has announced the return of two more beloved titles as forthcoming specials: Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling and Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus.

Nickelodeon Animation is currently recruiting production staff to work on the new projects.

More Nick: Nickelodeon and Paramount to Bring 'Rugrats' Back for the Next Generation of Kids with an All-New TV Series and Feature Film!

Original source: The Hollywood Reporter; Additional sources: TheWrap, Variety.

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