Initially unveiled at the San Diego Comic-Con to thunderous applause, Imagi's latest animated adventure, Astro Boy, debuts in theaters this week and director David Bowers is hoping that American audiences will connect with his take on the iconic Japanese character created by Osamu Tezuka.
It's such a rich story, and I think its themes are universal. I think American audiences are very used to superheroes, so it's not an enormous stretch for them. The only difficulty was having it be such a beloved character and having to decide what to retain and what to get rid of.
I like origin stories. I think Richard Donner's Superman is still just about the best superhero movie ever made. And I think it's interesting to see where these characters come from and what their roots are. I think it would be hard to jump into an Astro Boy movie with him already fighting robots and battling aliens. Plus, I think the story, what happens to Toby and why Astro Boy is created, it's pretty compelling.
Bowers' first film as a director was the light-hearted animated film Flushed Away, but he got his start as an animator and story artist on such films as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Shark Tale, skills that proved useful when directing a movie about a robot boy with a fairly distinctive haircut.
The graphic image is great, but in three dimensions when he turns his head one of the hair points disappears. So I swap it over every now and again. So it points left in some shots and right in the others. It's just like Mickey Mouse's ears.
Astro Boy stars Freddie Highmore as the voice of Astro Boy and also features the voice talents of Kristen Bell and Donald Sutherland.