With Halloween fast approaching, director Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory) is getting us in the trick or treating mood with his animated monster flick Hotel Transylvania. Featuring voice talent from the likes of Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi and Kevin James, and gathering all our favourite horror personas in spooky place, Hotel Transylvania is the most fun you’ll have in Eastern Europe without actually being there. Empire spoke to Tartakovsky to see just how taxing it was bringing some of the most famously frightening faces together under one roof.
"Vampires have gone in so many directions in the last ten years so it was really exciting to create a classic, but funny, Dracula. My favourite films growing up were Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein and Love At First Bite with George Hamilton as Dracula, so creating comedic versions of these monsters was just so much fun. When I first started drawing Dracula he looked like a Muppet. He had small eyes and a big nose and mouth set in this possum shaped face that fitted in well with the voice Adam was creating for him."
"We wanted to make Frankenstein feel fresh and new while retaining the iconic elements that make him such a recognisable character. Instead of using the typical groaning noise Frankenstein usually possesses, we tried to make him a warm, fun and conversational character that would engage with the audience while still maintaining his familiar, lumbering characteristics."
"Because the story is about humans hating monsters, we kept Wayne as a werewolf man the entire time rather than having him change back and forth between human and wolf to avoid any confusion. As wolves have litters of pups we thought it would be funny to give Wayne a whole brood of kids and a permanently pregnant wife. With Steve’s voice and Wayne’s mannerisms you can tell he’s an exhausted father and that worked well as a really nice, unique take on the traditional depiction of werewolves."
"Jonathan’s one of those kids that travels all over Europe and stays in hostels. He’s a real world traveller and we wanted him to be full of life with a personality where nothing upsets him. Jonathan is voiced by Andy Samberg who isn’t ‘Twilight’ handsome but he’s funny and corky which makes him appealing. My bosses didn’t see Mavis falling in love with a guy like that but I said, 'Girls love Andy Samberg – he’s funny, goofy and I think that’s realistic in a world where girls don’t just fall in love with good looking guys, they fall in love with a personality’. Once Jonathan came alive in animation they finally understood his personality."
"The body shape we had for Griffin initially saw him wearing a bar-keeping outfit for his job in the hotel, but it started to lose the fun of an Invisible Man when so much of him could be seen. I adapted it so he was just wearing some glasses instead so it maintained the fun aspect of his invisibility without giving so much away."
"Dracula is the only villain in the film so we made Quasimodo this grumpy short man with a Napoleon complex who’s angry about everything. We considered making him a bigger villain but realised that he didn’t need to be Dracula’s archrival in the movie and so left him as his own, angry creation. Working with Jon Lovitz was great because he’s so funny and witty. When he starts recording the voice he’s looking for he has all these little unique things that make his lines really funny."
"The intention for Wanda was for her to be a sweet and supporting character who loves her children and Molly (Shannon) was just like that. She’s so warm and sincere and was just the perfect fit. You never know what actors are really like behind all of the characters that they play, but Molly was exactly what we wanted for Wanda."
"When I started researching the mummy I realised that the only mummy character created had been through the film – there was no Mummy in literature. This made us want to push him further and so we gave him this boisterous party guy persona who’s over the top, big and loud."
"Selena has this great warmth and sweetness to her that fits in really nicely with Mavis’ character. She was perfectly able to play that innocence of not seeing the world while simultaneously having that unbridled enthusiasm to get out and see everything. To get the right tempo, timing and tones for the emotional moments between Mavis and Jonathan, Selena and Adam (Samberg) hung out a little when working together."