While "Hotel Transylvania" might be the director's first feature film, he has come close with some pretty huge collaborators. Tartakovsky directed a series of micro-shorts (between two and five-minutes each) that linked "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones" with "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith." The shorts were quite amazing -- a sentiment "Star Wars" mastermind George Lucas agreed with. As Tartakovsky explains, "After we did the 2D ones, I was actually going to be hired to be their quote unquote John Lasseter of LucasFilm Animation," Tartakovsky said. "I was going to do a feature and then I was going to supervise the 'Clone Wars' series, and I was really excited. We got as close as my wife started looking at houses in San Francisco. And then I had a lunch with George and he said he really didn't want to do features. At the time I really wanted to do features because I wanted to break free from TV, I was just kind of burned out. And I realized that the next 20 years of my career could be just 'Star Wars.' So I pulled out of the deal."
At one point he was associated with a live-action version of his "Samurai Jack" television series, to be supervised by J.J. Abrams. When Abrams left to shoot the first "Star Trek," things went quiet. They seem to have remained that way. "No, that's off the table now," Tartakovsky said curtly.
What is coming up is a whole slew of projects for Sony Pictures Animation, the studio that made "Hotel Transylvania" and was even happier about the weekend numbers than he was. While he says he's not that company's John Lasseter equivalent ("I think I'm just a director"), he admits that he will be working on two parallel projects – the company's big screen revamp of "Popeye" and a project of his own design. "For me the only reason I agreed to do 'Popeye' was that we're going to do an animated physical comedy," Tartakovsky said, openly. "In 'Hotel Transylvania' we started to really scratch the surface a little bit but we had a lot of dialogue and a lot of jokes based on dialogue. With 'Popeye,' I really want it to be, like 80%, all physical humor. And they agreed to that. It's the perfect vehicle for 'Popeye.' I'm going to push, whatever I did in 'Hotel Transylvania,' ten fold for 'Popeye.'"
And of his original project, he said: "At the same time as we're doing 'Popeye,' I'm developing an original idea at the same time. So who knows? Maybe if we're having story problems with 'Popeye,' and maybe my movie is going smoothly, maybe my movie will go first." When we asked him what the new project was about, Tartakovsky said, "It's too early. You don't want to know." But with anything the filmmaker is attached to, we do want to know, and we'll be eagerly awaiting more details.
"Hotel Transylvania" is in theaters now.