'Simpsons' Movie Attracts 'All-Star Team'
Groening and Brooks offer few hints on the big screen plot
"The Simpsons Movie" has at least 11 writers amiably sharing credit and the creative team couldn't be happier.
"[I]t's the home team that's doing the movie," Long-time "Simpsons" vet James L. Brooks told the room at the Television Critics press tour over the weekend. "It's not a different group of people who came in. For our animators to have this kind of scope and this stuff to play with for the first time, I can't tell you what it means to them."
Brooks is one of the screenwriters on the long-gestating film, as are series creator Matt Groening and familiar series producer/scribes including Al Jean, Mike Reiss, Mike Scully and Matt Selman.
"[A]nybody who has been an animator on 'The Simpsons,' generally we've called them up and said, 'Come back,'" Groening said. "And we got a couple of studios working on the movie. And David Silverman, one of the original directors back in 'The Tracey Ullman' days, supervising director of 'The Simpsons' for many years, is doing this with many veteran directors of the show. And then as Jim said, it's the home team. The writers are basically people who have run the show, been the showrunners."
Jean added, "It's almost an all-star team."
The producers are looking for a PG-13 rating for the film, which 20th Century Fox will release on July 27. The initial trailers have all been of the teaser variety, leaving many fans curious about the plot. Specific details aren't likely until a full-length trailer debuts in May, but Brooks explains that it finally just became time to bring "The Simpsons" to the big screen.
"You know what the truth is? Because I can't quite put my finger on it," Brooks said of the many delays. "We always wanted the right, at the last minute, to say we weren't doing a movie, even after we'd worked at the script. We always wanted that right, and there was one regime where that was tough to grant, and we needed that. And I think what finally happened is that we wanted to do it."
As many fans versed in "Simpsons" lore already know, the "Kamp Krusty" storyline that launched the show's much-adored fourth season was originally viewed as a possible feature plot.
"Then we said, 'We're a television show,' and that shut us up for a long time. ..." Brooks explained. "We wanted to focus on that. And then two years ago, almost simultaneously, we all began to think we should explore it."
Groening is satisfied that after the lengthy wait, the time is right for "The Simpsons Movie."
"When we showed the clips from the show at the San Diego Comic-Con or at colleges, or whatever, it's just, for me, personally -- and I think you've all experienced this, as well -- really thrilling to hear a big crowd laugh at the same time," he said. "For me, personally, that's part of it. Is that great art? I don't know, but it's fun."