This is interesting. Kevin Clash’s problems have been very-well documented by the media, so no need to regurgitate.
To get to the main story here, our friends at Vulture are reporting exclusively that Warner Bros was developing a feature film with Clash, which would have been based on a brand new character that Clash had been secretly working on for the studio over the summer and into the fall.
However, thanks to recent allegations (a 3rd accuser went public if you missed that piece of news), the WB has cut all ties with that planned feature film and the new character, and have effectively buried the project.
Here’s how Vulture describes the now-defunct film:
It would have featured in “a ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ kind of movie about a kid and his stuffed animal that takes on a life of its own because of the child’s imagination…” At the time the sex scandals began to break, it was still unclear whether the Clash project was to be live action or a mix of both live action and animation, but what was certain was that the Clash project would “incorporate puppets,” per the document. Warner Bros. was especially interested in Clash’s next creation, and not just because of the nearly $50 million in annual licensing revenue (much of it from Elmo merch) that Sesame Workshop currently enjoys. It was also because “part of the inspiration” for the character in Clash’s film project was one that Warner Bros. already owns: Ralph Phillips, a schoolboy with an overactive imagination who appeared in Looney Tunes shorts like Boyhood Daze and From A to Z-Z-Z-Z, the latter of which was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1954.
They add that the WB apparently was quite high on the secretive Clash project (before the allegations) that they had assigned several high-profile producers to it over the summer.
It appears that some progress had already been made, so the question is, what happens to it now? Who owns the rights to it, and can Clash possibly take the project to another studio? Would any studio want to be in the Kevin Clash business right now (and even in the future), given all that’s happened?
One thing the WB is likely breathing a sigh of relief over is that, even though progress had been made, they weren’t so far into the project that it would be really hard to bury it. They hadn’t invested a cagillion dollars to produce it, so it’s likely not a huge loss for them now. Imagine if the film was actually done, and scheduled for release, and then the accusations happened? Would the WB have still released the film, or would they have had to swallow a very bitter bill in the form of tons of money spent on CGI work, salaries, marketing, etc, and buried the prints?
Thoughts on all this?