Who Framed Roger Rabbit
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 fantasy comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis, produced by Steven Spielberg and based on Gary K. Wolf's novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?. The film combines the use of traditional animation and live action with elements of film noir, and stars Bob Hoskins, Charles Fleischer, Christopher Lloyd, Kathleen Turner and Joanna Cassidy. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is set in 1947 Hollywood, where cartoon characters (referred to as "Toons") commonly interact with the studio system of Classical Hollywood cinema. The film tells the story of private investigator Eddie Valiant caught in a mystery that involves Roger Rabbit, an A-list Toon who is framed for murder.
Walt Disney Pictures purchased the film rights to Who Censored Roger Rabbit? in 1981. Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman wrote two drafts of the script before Disney brought Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment to help finance the film. Zemeckis was hired to direct the live action scenes with Richard Williams overseeing animation sequences. For inspiration, Price and Seaman studied the work of Walt Disney and Warner Bros. Cartoons from the Golden Age of American animation, especially Tex Avery and Bob Clampett cartoons. Production was moved from Los Angeles to Elstree Studios in England to accommodate Williams and his group of animators.
During filming, the production budget began to rapidly expand and the shooting schedule lapsed longer than expected. However, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released with financial success and critical acclaim. The film brought a re-emerging interest from the golden age of American animation and became the forefront for the modern era. Roger Rabbit left behind an impact that included a media franchise and the unproduced prequel Who Discovered Roger Rabbit.