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Guillermo del Toro refused to insert a ‘Poochie’ into ‘Wind in the Willows’

The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie Show!
 
For my money, “The Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show,” episode #14 in the 8th season of The Simpsons, ranks as one of the most effortlessly resonant episodes they ever did. If you recall that one, the TV execs, worried about slipping ratings for “The Itchy & Scratchy Show,” decide to insert an “extreme” dog character named “Poochie” into the program. The surfboard-toting Poochie wears sunglasses, a backwards baseball cap, and torn shorts and generally behaves like the parody of edgy youth behavior he was intended to be. Eventually the kids start to hate Poochie because he always drags down the action, and they kill off the character. In a “meta” point to drive the point home, in the episode an additional, sassy Simpsons sibling named “Roy” materializes, whom all the characters acknowledge as always having been there.

The episode is studded with great dialogue, but here’s a bit in which all the relevant nonsense about Poochie is laid out in detail:
 

Network Executive Lady: We at the network want a dog with attitude. He’s edgy, he’s “in your face.” You’ve heard the expression, “let’s get busy”? Well, this is a dog who gets “biz-zay!” Consistently and thoroughly.

Krusty: So he’s proactive, huh?

Network Executive Lady: Oh, God, yes. We’re talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.

Writer: Excuse me, but “proactive” and “paradigm”? Aren’t these just buzzwords that dumb people use to sound important? Not that I’m accusing you of anything like that. [pause] I’m fired, aren’t I?

Roger Myers Jr.: Oh, yes.

 
The whole episode is a stone classic, and (in my mind at least, and I know I’m not alone) the word “Poochie” ever since has always been synonymous with gratuitous attempts to pander to audiences.

Everybody gets that Poochie-type behavior is a daily occurrence in Hollywood—but surely the makers of The Simpsons were exaggerating, right? To judge from the experience of Guillermo del Toro, apparently not!

Around 2003 del Toro was attached to a Disney animated adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s 1905 children’s favorite The Wind in the Willows. In an interview from Rotten Tomatoes’ “Dinner and the Movies” series, del Toro revealed that he had to leave the project because of the Disney execs’ request to “Poochie” up the character of Toad:

Wind in the Willows, which I adapted to do animated. ... “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” and all that - it was a beautiful little book, and then I went to meet with the executives and they said, “Could you give Toad a skateboard and make him say, ‘Radical, dude!’ things,” and that’s where I said, “It’s been a pleasure!”

The section with the Wind in the Willows stuff is embedded below, but you can watch the entire interview (12 files) if you like.

All in all, del Toro’s decisions to walk away from material—which happened often, apparently—seemed to work out well. He’s one of Hollywood’s most inventive and sought-after directors, and he just published a terrific book called Cabinet of Curiosities which we posted about a month ago.
 

 
Thank you Mark Davis!

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Guillermo del Toro’s incredible ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ sketchbooks to be published
10.04.2013
03:43 pm

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Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro, Cabinet of Curiosities
 
You have to see only a single one of Guillermo del Toro’s lush, vivid movies to realize that the Mexican director, most recently of the Godzilla-style throwback Pacific Rim, is some kind of creative Tasmanian devil—another Tim Burton. It’s no surprise to learn that del Toro is a first-rate draftsman and has been obsessively marking up art notebooks for years. Fans have been wanting to a look at those notebooks for years, and finally, the day is nigh: Timed perfectly for Halloween gift season (is that even a thing?), Harper Design on October 29 is releasing a gorgeous edition of Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions. It may not be quite as spectacularly weird as Luigi Serafini’s Codex Seraphinianus, it’s pretty damn weird and spectacular in its own right.
 
Guillermo del Toro, Cabinet of Curiosities
 
Guillermo del Toro, Cabinet of Curiosities
 
You can pre-order the book from Amazon for $36 (down from $60). If that seems pricy to you, then you probably aren’t super interested in the “Limited Edition,” which comes “encased in a cabinet with partitions and a secret compartment that holds the book”—that baby will run you $633.82. Marc Zicree is credited as a coauthor, and —as befits the A-lister del Toro has become—a foreword by James Cameron and an afterword by Tom Cruise.
 
Guillermo del Toro
 
Here’s a charming video trailer for the book, with plenty of mouth-watering closeups of various oddities in what I presume is del Toro’s own home:

 
In related news, Guillermo del Toro’s reference-tastic opening to the Simpsons’ “Treehouse of Horror” was released yesterday, and it’s fantastic. It’s meticulously detailed (like the Cabinet of Curiosities) and jammed with classic horror movie references. I spotted The Birds, The Phantom of the Paradise, The Shining, and del Toro’s own Pan’s Labyrinth are gimmes; I leave the rest for you to spot.
 

 
via Collider

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Nick Cave sings Disney

image
 
Hal Willner’s “Forest of No Return: Music from Vintage Disney Films” was performed live at London’s Royal Festival Hall in 2007. An impressive line-up of musicians, including Jarvis Cocker (who hosted the event), Shane MacGowan, Grace Jones, David Thomas and Beth Orton, covered tunes from the Disney songbook.

In the clip below, Nick Cave sounds like a drunken sailor on ¨Hi Diddle Dee Dee¨ from Pincocchio . Good fun.

In related news, a new filmed version of Pinocchio is being produced by Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) and Nick Cave has been brought on board to compose an original score for the movie. This I gotta see.

Cave meets Disney:
 

 
Nick does KC and The Sunshine Band after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment