- Year created: 1981
- Movie premier: 1988
- Prefers: Cartoons over humans
- Similar to: Bugs Bunny
- Not so secret crush: Jessica Rabbit
The Who Framed Roger Rabbit cartoon is a 1988 American fantasy comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film combines live action and animation, and is based on Gary K. Wolf’s novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which depicts a world in which cartoon characters interact directly with human beings. Who Framed Roger Rabbit stars Bob Hoskins as private detective Eddie Valiant, who investigates a murder involving the famous cartoon character, Roger Rabbit. Walt Disney Productions purchased the film rights to the story in 1981. Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman wrote two drafts of the script before Disney brought in executive producer Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment to help finance the film.
Acting the Roger Rabbit Cartoon
Charles Fleischer provides the voice of the Roger Rabbit cartoon, an A-list Toon working for Maroon Cartoons. Roger is framed for the murder of Marvin Acme, and requests Eddie’s help in proving his innocence. To facilitate Hoskins’ performance, Fleischer dressed in a Roger bunny suit and “stood in” behind camera for most scenes. Animation director Richard Williams explained the Roger Rabbit cartoon was a combination of “Tex Avery’s cashew nut-shaped head, the swatch of red hair…like Droopy’s, Goofy‘s overalls, Porky Pig‘s bow tie, Mickey Mouse‘s gloves and Bugs Bunny like cheeks and ears.”
The Roger Rabbit cartoon was finally greenlit when the budget went down to $29.9 million, which at the time, still made it the most expensive animated film ever greenlit. Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg argued that the hybrid of live action and animation would “save” Disney’s animation department. Spielberg’s contract included an extensive amount of creative control and a large percentage of the box office profits. Disney kept all merchandising rights. Spielberg convinced Warner Bros., Fleischer Studios, King Features Syndicate, Felix the Cat Productions, Turner Entertainment, and Universal Pictures/Walter Lantz Productions to “lend” their characters to appear in the film with (in some cases) stipulations on how those characters were portrayed; for example, Disney’s Donald Duck and Warner’s Daffy Duck appear as equally-talented dueling pianists, and Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny also share a scene.
Some of this article uses modified material from the Finding Nemo cartoon Wikipedia article “Who_Framed_Roger_Rabbit“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.