Notoriously private "Calvin & Hobbes" cartoonist Bill Watterson granted a rare interview to mental_floss magazine, but what he said about the beloved comic's chances of hitting the big screen quickly quashed excitement over the possibility of future adventures between Calvin and his imaginary tiger friend.
In an email exchange, writer Jake Rossen asked Watterson about the cartoonist's past ambivalent stance on a "Calvin" feature film adaptation, and whether or not the groundbreaking work by animation studios like Pixar might have swayed him into one day agreeing to a big screen deal. Sadly, Watterson said no.
"The visual sophistication of Pixar blows me away, but I have zero interest in animating 'Calvin and Hobbes,'" he said. He continued:
Watterson went on to explain that he gave up a lot of creative freedom in "Calvin"'s early days in order to get the comic into syndication, telling Rossen that he frequently worried that the strip would be taken away from him entirely. Those fears almost certainly play a role in his reluctance to see "Calvin" on the silver screen, as he'd most likely once again have to relinquish significant control over his creation.
If you've ever compared a film to a novel it's based on, you know the novel gets bludgeoned. It's inevitable, because different media have different strengths and needs, and when you make a movie, the movie's needs get served. As a comic strip, 'Calvin and Hobbes' works exactly the way I intended it to. There's no upside for me in adapting it.
Despite that disappointing revelation, it's unlikely that the public's love for Watterson's classic "Calvin" comics will ever fade. A fan-produced documentary about the strip, "Dear Mr. Watterson," is set to hit theaters and video on demand on November 15.