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I’m sure there are many of you out there who felt the same drilled-out feeling deep in the pit of your stomachs when it was announced that Twentieth Century Fox Animation was putting together a big screen version of Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts comic strip. Perhaps most of you will join me in feeling waves of relief now that The Heat director Paul Feig has signed on to oversee the project and serve as a producer. It may not immediately seem like a completely logical choice, given Feig has made his name in recent years directing more explicit adult fare. But he did get his start creating the cult series Freaks and Geeks, in which nearly every character had a bit of the Charlie Brown blues going for them.
Feig also happens to be one of the funnier filmmakers in Hollywood, which is exactly what a project like this needs. True, the movie is actually co-written by Schulz’s son Craig (along with Bryan Schultz and Cornelius Uliano), and it’s being directed by Horton Hears a Who! and Ice Age: Continental Drift director Steve Martino, but the sum of these parts will not necessarily present the evocation of timeless youth that the strip excelled at. Neither Horton nor that Ice Age sequel were particularly memorable a week after watching them.
Nearly everything Feig has been a part of, however, from I Am David to Bridesmaids to his sitcom direction on Arrested Development, feel classic right out of the gate. The major exception to this rule is 2006’s pretty abysmal comedy Unaccompanied Minors, but we’ll consider that the hiccup. It’s not apparent how closely he’ll be working with the script and the Martino, but I have no doubt his influence will make the story feel a lot more personal while remaining universally acceptable. His memoirs Kick Me and Superstud contain hilariously embarrassing events that are beyond the years of Linus and Lucy, but it’s easy to imagine them growing into similar shame-ridden adolescences.
As happy as I am with this decision, Feig is of course ten times more pleased. “Growing up, Peanuts was my Star Wars,” he told Deadline. “Charles Schulz’s characters influenced everything in my career, especially Freaks and Geeks. I’m thrilled I’ll finally get to be pals with Charlie Brown and Snoopy.” It’s equally good news for co-writer Schulz, who says, “Knowing how Peanuts, especially Charlie Brown’s never-give-up attitude has influenced [Feig] throughout his life, makes this partnership even more meaningful.”
Does this sound like a great pairing to you guys? We’ll have to wait until the finished product comes on on its current release date of November 6, 2015 to find out for sure. We’ll probably have seen Feig’s next effort, the spy comedy Susan Cooper, before then
In the meantime, don’t forget about the small screen holiday classic It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which you can watch on ABC on Thursday, October 31.