Listen, I know we’ve all been waiting with bated breath for that The Incredible Mr. Limpet remake to finally get out the door and into theaters. Details have been scarce ever since the project was first announced in the late 90s- first, Kung Pow: Enter the Fist mastermind Steve Oedekerk was ready to direct, with Jim Carrey as the astounding man-fish. Oedekerk stepped down, but the troops were rallied and Brad Bird was offered the gig. Then, Bird caught a glimpse of Mr. Limpet’s new look: a CGI fish with Carrey’s human face transplanted on via mo-cap. He described it thusly: “If you saw this in the water, you would get out of the water and run screaming and tell everyone the world was ending.” Plans for the film fell apart shortly afterward.
Then, they fell back together when Enchanted director Kevin Lima boarded the project. Zach Galifianakis was in talks to play a presumably less horrifying Mr. Limpet, and then Richard Linklater later found himself in talks to replace Lima. Yet neither man was officially sworn in; the best we got was a single source from the LA Times claiming that “Warner Bros. is set to make it official and hire Linklater.” Save for that one bit of potential confirmation, every other Limpet-related headline on Earth still ended with a pesky question mark.
Today, the Nazi-fighting fish of legend might finally have a little luck on his side. According to Screen Daily, Femke Wolting and Tommy Pallotta, the documentary filmmakers and animators who worked with Linkater on A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life, have joined the project and are already working on the film’s animated segments. This seemingly points to two conclusions. One, that Linklater is officially aboard Mr. Limpet and the film is actually moving forward. And two, that those in charge have decided to right their Jim Carrey nightmare-fuel wrongs by making sure Mr. Limpet looks really, really terrific. There’s no word yet whether Linklater and company will be giving this one the same rotoscoping treatment as their last two collaborations. But with these three involved, we’re all but guaranteed a higher level of visuals than your average CGI talking fish comedy.
There may be some who think this material is a little…well, beneath the stature of a director who spent twelve years filming a coming-of-age tale with actual, real-time aging. But naysayers just need to look towards some of Linklater’s less artsy ventures in School of Rock and Bad News Bears. School of Rock especially. There, Linklater was able to turn an ordinary Jack Black vehicle into a sweet and remarkably engaging little comedy. Hopefully with The Incredible Mr. Limpet, he can pull off the same miracle for an otherwise ho-hum Galifianakis picture.
This is definitely one to keep an eye on for the future- chances are it’ll end up an unspeakable disaster or an absolutely gorgeous piece of art that happens to contain a talking cartoon fish. And in case you need a reminder of what a CGI fish disaster might look like, check out a few sketches of the proposed Carrey-fish horror at the blog of animator Bob Camp. Picture them with late 90s-era poor quality CGI. Make sure a loved one is close at hand to hold you afterwards.