Warner Animation sets choice filmmakers for Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo films

Jinkies! It sounds as if Warner Bros. Animation Group has landed some top-tier talent to welcome both SCOOBY-DOO and TOM AND JERRY to the big screen. According to Variety‘s exclusive report, SHAFT and FANTASTIC FOUR director Tim Story is in negotiations to helm the hybrid live-action cat and mouse comedy, TOM AND JERRY, while Chris Columbus (THE HELP, HOME ALONE) is said to have boarded the new SCOOBY-DOO animated feature as an executive producer. Both filmmakers are being seen as notable hires for the beloved properties, which have remained a treasured aspect of pop culture for several decades.

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Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, TOM AND JERRY began its legendary run of animated short films in February of 1940. The series focused on a bitter rivalry between Tom, a domestic short-haired cat, and Jerry, a brown-coated house mouse. Throughout their storied career, Tom and Jerry delighted viewers with their creative slapstick comedy and fleeting moments of tenderness and comradery. The original show featuring the two characters boasted 114 Hanna and Barbera-produced episodes, from the years 1940 to 1967.

As for SCOOBY-DOO, the iconic Great Dane was created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears. Introduced in 1969 as a part of the animated program SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU?, the talkative, treat-devouring and spineless sleuth solved crimes alongside his human companions and friends – Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma DInkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers. While the Scooby Gang has undergone a countless amount of reboots throughout the years, the series always focuses on the group deciphering mysteries that are of a supernatural nature. Surely you’ve heard of the phrase, “I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids.” Yeah, that’s totally a Scooby-Doo thing.

For both films, Warner Bros. has asked that the live-action and animated effects teams work alongside one another when creating this bold re-invention of two of animation’s most treasured properties. In other words, Warners is taking the hybrid presentation quite seriously, with special efforts being placed on the storyboarding aspect of both projects.

When filming for TOM AND JERRY gets underway, Story plans to shoot the live-action scenes first, with much of the comedy hailing from the outlandish antics of the voiceless cat and mouse duo. That’s right, I said voiceless. In what’s been reported so far, Story and his team have no plans to cast voice actors for either Tom nor Jerry. Rejoice! It’s like they actually care about keeping it old school.

Meanwhile, the yet-to-be-titled SCOOBY-DOO animated feature is on track for a first quarter 2020 release. According to Variety, Warners’ interest in tapping Chris Columbus for the upcoming animation began when the GREMLINS reboot was proposed, which Columbus is producing. The filmmaker evidently showed great affection for the Scooby Gang during that time, and so the WB began making moves to pair him with the project’s director, Tony Cervone. Here’s hoping the two creatives can conjure some on-screen magic with Kelly Fremon Craig’s screenplay, which she’d penned from a draft by Jack Donaldson and Derek Elliott.

Is the world ready for SCOOBY-DOO and TOM AND JERRY to come barreling back into the spotlight? Where do you think Shaggy buys his weed from if they’re always on the road? Would Tom really eat Jerry, if he actually caught him? I have so many questions, and I can’t wait to get some answers. Bring on the revival, Warner Bros., my body is ready!