Comic-Con Premieres New Futurama Footage; Plus, We Interview Futurama's Rich Moore
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Rich Moore has a long pedigree in television animation, including working as director on the major triumvirate of 1990s primetime cartoons: The Simpsons, The Critic, and Futurama, where he acted as supervising director for all 72 episodes. We met with Moore earlier that day on the chaotic exhibit floor, to get the details on Futurama's future and his role on The Simpsons Movie. (To you three Simpsons fans who haven't seen the movie, beware of spoilers below!)
Rotten Tomatoes: Are you still working as supervising director for the Futurama movies?
Rich Moore: Well, right now, I just finished working on The Simpsons Movie. So that's been a year and a half of...joy. I love those characters. It's great to work with them.
RT: It's been a while since you last worked on The Simpsons.
RM: It has been a long time. And I was wondering, "Have they changed that much?" No, they're exactly the same.
So there were four sequence directors on the movie. I directed pretty much the end of the movie, starting with Marge waking up back in Springfield. And I really like action sequences. That's why I like working on Futurama so much. There's great acting, but there's also great action. So when I read the Simpsons script, I was like, "I want to do this part!" And they said, "Go ahead! The guy drives a motorcycle up the inside of a glass dome. I don't know, you figure it out."
As for Futurama, I am supervising, but not as deep into it as I was back on the series. The first movie's back. It looks terrific, it looks great. I'm kinda jumping into the back end, pumping them up a bit.
RT: Can you confirm the titles of the rest of the Futurama movies?
RM: The Beast with a Million Backs, Bender's Game, and The Wild Green Yonder. Those are the titles. I don't think David would mind that that's out at this time.
I was supposed to direct the fourth movie, but The Simpsons Movie went on a little longer than it was supposed to. So I missed out on directing Green Yonder. But Pete Avanzino and Dwayne Carey-Hill, who were also on the series, are directing the four movies.
RT: Will you be trying to capturing new fans with the Futurama movies?
RM: I think the idea is to capture new fans. The first one is a great science fiction story. It's got the Fry and Leela relationship. It's got lots of action. It's got lots of great Bender and Zoidberg moments. All the old regulars who have appeared have their own scenes. But it's very accessible to people who haven't watched a whole lot.
RT: You're re-cutting the four DVD movies into television episodes. How is that working out?
RM: Each movie's going to be divided into four parts. It's not going to be just cut, cut, cut. They're going to try and edit them into separate pieces of a story.
RT: Is new animation going to be produced for the episodes?
RM: No. It's written in a way so that we can, like, move the third act [of one movie into an earlier part of an episode]. We'll tell Fry's story in one episode. We'll tell Bender's story in one episode.
RT: So it's like multiple perspectives on one long event.
RM: Right. That's what we're talking about right now. Hopefully, if enough people watch the episodes and the DVDs sell, they'll order more episodes, more movies. I personally think Futurama would make a great theatrical release. It just lends itself to the big screen.
RT: In moving from network television to cable, have there been changes to the show's budget?
RM: The budget's a little smaller. But it's comparable to what it was on Fox. The writing's crew a little smaller, but [we have] all the key people like Ken Keeler, Eric Kaplan. Our animation staff is exactly the same as it was on the series, the same size. Our CG department's a little bigger, even.
RT: Considering that there might not be more episodes after these 16...
RM: How can you say that? Oh my God, you jinxed it!
RT: Just in case that happens, will the last DVD movie have the same kind of closure that "The Devil's Hand are Idle Playthings" episode had?
RM: It does have some closure. When I read "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings" script, I was like, "You know what, this really reeks of the end. The last show of the series." And they did that on purpose, because they knew we might not be renewed. And the last DVD movie does have a little bit of that.