Steven Spielberg interview

This is an interview with Steven Spielberg from " Bugs Bunny: He's 50 folks!" originally run in 1990. The interview was originally done by Jerry Lazar.


Q: Whose idea was Tiny Toon Adventures?

A: Tiny Toons was presented to me by Terry Semel, the president of Warner Bros. Knowing my passion for animation and specifically for the irascibility of the Warner Bros. Classic toons, he invited me to become involved in the creation of a gallery of new characters.


Q: How do these junior toonsters relate to Bugs and his gang?

A: This is the new generation. I always thought Bugs was wise enough to be in his mid - 20's on a human scale. Elmur Fudd was, of course, a real stick in the mud adult. And even though Tweety was a little baby bird, he looked like he was 3 going on 33. With Tiny Toons we've created young characters and made them every bit as irreverent as the classics. The Tiny Toons capture some of the flavour of their forebarers, and yet they're completely original; they’ve got their own personalities. And they're extremely contemporary. Like most kids today, they're addolescents trapped in an adult world. The only escape is their wits, their senses and notes from their parents.


Q: They live in Acme Acres. Discribe that.

A: If you were suspended in mid air and violated the law of toon physics by looking down, you'd plummet to the ground. Before you made a body imprint in the Earth, you'd see tha lay of the land: suburbia to your right, Acme Looniversity to your left, and right down the center, the forest where Babs and Buster make their home. Acme Acres is a microcosm of our own world, and of course evertyhing is called " Acme ."


Q: You could market an Acme Acres map.

A: Yeah, maps to Toons homes.


Q: The characters leave Acme Acres, though.

A: They travel everywhere, from the Pyramids of Egypt to the rain forests of the Amazon. They do more globe trotting than Indiana Jones every imagined.


Q: Bugs and the original Looney Toon characters make cameo appearences.

A: Most of them teach at Acme Looniversity. They teach Toon logic. The Tazmanian Devil teaches Dizzy that bunnies are yummy, and bugs teaches Wild Takes Class, where the toons learn comic facial reactions like head bobs and eye pops. They're spreading the gospel according to ( Looney Tunes directors ) Chuck Jones, Friz Freeling, Tex Avery and the whole gang of forefathers who were the guiniesses of the Warner Bros. Cartoon division.


Q: Can you maintain the quality of those classics?

A: In my opinion, the animation on Tiny Toons is better than any of the Saturday morning or weekday series in quality, depth and fluid movement. We're using a color range much more extensive than anything seen before on a T.V. screen. - musch more along the lines of a feature film. The in between work is much more detailed - the characters don't freeze speak, like in the old clutch cargo, where they'd take token footsteps on a loop and freeze and speak again. There's much more bopdy language in Tiny Toons; the characters are almost defined by how they scurry and vibrate when they come to a stop.


Q: Who is your intended audience?

A: We're shooting for a younger audience, but we're also hoping to get the adults to watch with the kids. I've always been in favour of not appealing to just one segment of the family. There's something for everybody. We're working adult sophistication into this, because that was the original feel of Warner Bros. Cartoons for me. As a kid, I remember my dad and I would go see the Disney cartoons, which were wonderful. But we only really fell out of our chairs when we were watching Bugs and Elmur Fudd, or Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. You could hear the audience laughing hysterically, and my father and I laughed shoulder to shoulder. We would die laughing. Disney made you feel good, but Warner toons cracked you up.


Q: Tell us about the adventures we'll be seeing.

A: Some of opur episodes are multiple variations on a common theme, like sci - fi, films, sports, or the environment. Our half hour adventures have the toons going to hollywood to become movie stars , to the center of the Earth, or to a trendy restaurant.


Q: We've noticed that, unlike Elmur Fudd, the human characters don't carry rifles.

A: I wanted to avoid all firearms. My whole feeling was leave rabbit hunting to the classics. The only weapons you'll see are so fanciful you don't take them seriously.


Q: what is your role as executive producer?

A: I sat with everybody at the initial concept meetings. I worked on formatting the show, with the Warner Bros. Team, and I've thought up a number of episodes. I see storyboards on many of the shows, and I'm there to say whether or not rhw show is appropriate for the time period, whether it's too intense for kids, whether it's consistent with the characters. But, I pretty much let the animators animate, the wirtters write and the directors direct.


Q: How much time do you devote to Tiny Toons?

A: Animation is the most fun I have right now. I'm involved with other projects, but the last couple of years, I've had more fun overseeing the animation from The Land Before Time, An American Tail, and the sequel to An American Tail, which is before the cameras in London right now. As the dollar shrinks and movies cost more, my imagination is becoming less and less affordable. So, I've turned to Animation as a way to free it up. In Animation, anything can happen.