Hergé’s (real name George Remi) character of Tintin, the intrepid (useless) reporter with a sideline in solving crime (usually smuggling) and a fluffy white dog called Snowy (true) is much loved the world over. Despite any hints of racist/fascist leanings, the books have been translated from their original French into some fifty languages. Of course they are pretty old, so it’s important to remember that racism was all the go back then.
Steven Spielberg has been after the rights to film the Tintin books for 25 years. In that time he has made Jurassic Park, AI and Minority Report amongst others, which as far as we are aware, are not racist at all. Peter Jackson’s last film was a remake of King Kong. It was so bad that it has since been released on DVD in at least two different versions, both too long and both less enjoyable than open-heart surgery performed with an ice cream scoop and a pencil sharpener. Again though, not racist.
Spielberg and Jackson do have other more definite projects in the works, but a 3D version of Tintin incorporating WETA performance capture technology spread into a pointlessly generic trilogy is clearly more of a publicity grabber than ‘Peter Jackson Still Not Doing the Hobbit’, etc.
An excited Spielberg commented:
“We want Tintin's adventures to have the reality of a live-action film, and yet Peter and I felt that shooting them in a traditional live-action format would simply not honour the distinctive look of the characters and world that Hergé created.”
Jackson and Spielberg will do one film each, with a third director yet to be announced. Any rumours of a Larry Clark version with Tintin spending three-quarters of the movie semi-naked before flashing his crotch at Captain Haddock and kidnapping an underage prostitute are just that, rumours.
We can only assume that Hergé’s modus operandi of violet animal cruelty and throwaway ‘comedy racism’ will not make it to the big screen. This is probably best, as in addition to being very wrong; there is really nothing particularly funny about Tintin lecturing a group of African schoolchildren on ‘their fatherland of Belgium’. It is not even factually accurate.