Study Guide

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Screenwriter

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Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman

A movie in which Ted Striker, the drunk from Airplane!, and Lois Lane get wrapped up in a platinum smuggling ring in the Mediterranean sounds almost as batty as a hard-boiled detective teaming up with a cartoon rabbit to find a missing will. It's fitting, then, that both of these are plots of movies written by screenwriting duo Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman.

Price and Seaman, which sounds like an accounting firm, first teamed up for Trenchcoat (1983), a noir homage comedy starring Margot Kidder. Trenchcoat was produced by Disney, so it's no surprise that the House of Mouse, which distributed Roger Rabbit under its Touchstone Pictures division, brought in the duo to pen yet another neo-noir comedy.

This time they had source material to work with. In 1981, Gary K. Wolf (who's an author not a cartoon character who wants to eat the Three Little Pigs), published the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? Disney purchased the rights to the book shortly after it was published. (Source)

The book is quite different from the finished movie. In the book, Roger Rabbit's a comic strip character who hangs out with others from the funny pages like Hagar the Horrible and Dick Tracy. Looking to capitalize on the popularity of Disney properties, Price and Seaman changed Roger into an animated cartoon character.

Aside from Roger, the only other characters to make the jump from the book are the drunk hard-boiled detective, Eddie Valiant; buxom Jessica; and the foul-mouthed Baby Herman. (Source)

Blending live-action and cartoon proved so successful for everyone involved that Price and Seaman continued to work in that wheelhouse. In 2000, they wrote the screenplay for the live-action version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which starred real-live cartoon character Jim Carrey as the Grinch. We have to wonder if Carrey is actually a Toon like Judge Doom in the movie.

Keep him away from the Dip.

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