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In retrospect, it's kind of inevitable that Steven Spielberg wound up directing the Tintin movie. Whenever someone's trying to explain the Tintin phenomenon to people unfamiliar with the long-running comic series, they almost inevitably wind up invoking the name of Indiana Jones. In fact, that's how Spielberg himself first discovered Tintin. Spielberg told The Telegraph that he first heard of the series while promoting Raiders of the Lost Ark in France back in 1981. He kept seeing the name referenced in reviews of Raiders, many of which speculated that Indiana Jones was either influenced by or paying direct homage to Tintin's adventures. Intrigued, Spielberg picked up some of the Tintin books and was hooked.
But while Spielberg hadn't heard of Tintin, the fellow responsible for Tintin had definitely heard of Spielberg. Michael Farr, an expert on Tintin, says that the comic's creator, Hergé (a pen name of Belgian artist Georges Rémi), first discovered Spielberg's work with Duel, the 1971 TV movie about a hapless traveler who gets on the bad side of an insane truck driver. Hergé died in 1983, but Spielberg had already begun negotiating to acquire the rights to Tintin. Though Hergé died before getting the chance to meet Spielberg in person, one of his notes gave the director his vote of confidence, saying that if anyone could successfully bring Tintin to the big screen, it would be "this young American film director."
When The Adventures of Tintin hits screens on December 21st, it will be the culmination of a 30-year journey, one which has paired Spielberg with talents such as Peter Jackson, Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish. If the movie proves to be as good as it has the potential to be, just remember to thank the French press.
You can find out more about The Adventures of Tintin in our Blend Movie Database.