EXCLUSIVE: Looks like somebody has been eating his spinach. Sony Pictures Animation and Arad Productions are bringing in T.J. Fixman to write Popeye, the latest adaptation of the beloved sailor man. The film is being produced by Avi Arad. It will be based on the property by King Features Syndicate, which is owned by Hearst Entertainment and Syndication. First appearing some 87 years ago in a comic strip by the cartoonist Elzie Segar, Popeye has appeared in numerous comics, cartoons, ads and, in one instance, a live-action feature film.
Directed, somewhat surreally, by Robert Altman and starring a then-29-year-old Robin Williams, the 1980 film was something of a critical and commercial disappointment for Paramount and Disney. The character of Popeye, however, has remained a pop culture treasure with the (possibly) one-eyed sailor with a fondness for fighting, pipe-smoking and Olive Oyl an evergreen draw for fans young and old. Segar reputedly based the larger-than-life character on a real person: a one-eyed man named Frank ‘Rocky’ Fiegal, who has the words “inspiration for Popeye” inscribed on his tombstone.
The Sony Animation project is a priority for the studio with Fixman heating up around town. He has written Men Who Kill at Fox, with Michael B. Jordan (Creed) attached to produce and star in. The tone of that film is an international Bad Boys. Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter are producing with Kenny Goodman exec producing, with Fox exec Mike Ireland overseeing.
Fixman has also sold One Night On The Hudson to Universal with Mary Parent producing, Seth Gordon directing and Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day attached, as well as The Lost for New Line / 21 Laps, and Gargoyles for Disney with Lauren Schuler Donner producing. Fixman is also working on Rubber Guns, a pilot at CBS with Scott Free producing. Fixman was also instrumental in the creation of Insomniac Games’ Ratchet and Clank video game franchise, leading storyline development for the award-winning series. He also wrote the script for the upcoming feature film adaptation, featuring a new story based on the original trilogy of games for Playstation 2. While at Insomniac, he also led storyline development for Resistance: Fall Of Man. Fixman also has a consulting deal at Hasbro, where he’ll be responsible for building upon Hasbro’s portfolio of brands across all platforms, including film, television and digital.
Fixman is repped by WME, Grandview and Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal Laviolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman.