This interview originally appeared on MTV News.
According to filmmaker Paul Feig, Hollywood and the world of Charles Schulz’s classic comic strip “Peanuts” have a lot in common. Charlie Brown has the football that keeps getting pulled away at the last moment, just as he’s about to give it a kick. Filmmakers like Feig are always aiming squarely for that audience connection, for a moviegoer to be happy with what’s placed before them.
In the age of the internet, as Feig well knows, movies often don’t even get a chance to show footage before being judged. With both “Peanuts,” on which he is a producer and the upcoming reboot of “Ghostbusters” he directed, fans of both “crazily beloved properties,” as Feig called them, voiced their opinions before seeing a single frame.
“It will be on my tombstone: thanks for ruining my childhood,” he told MTV News today before ringing the closing bell at Nasdaq in New York City. “All I can say to anybody is just wait and see it. Because I know a lot of people were really nervous about ‘Peanuts’ when they heard that it was going to be 3D and CG, and the teaser came out and you felt everybody go, oh, OK. So the internet, the fun and terrible thing about the internet is that it’s a lot of prejudging, so you just gotta say just wait. I know you’re hearing all this stuff, just wait, see if you like it. Then if you don’t like it, we can talk, just don’t be so mean to me now.”
Every aspect of “Peanuts” was carefully examined to make sure it honored cartoonist Charles Schulz’s original work and intentions. However, if you notice Charlie Brown being slightly less morose or just a few fewer footballs being pulled, just know that every dark cloud needs a few minutes off every now and then.
“I think we just had to temper a little bit,” he said. “The strips are meant to be read one per day, but the overall thing, if you just go through all the strips, he’s just getting pounded and pounded. We didn’t want to lose that, we just needed at some point to give a little bit so that people aren’t just watching a kid get the crap beat out of him all the time. We didn’t pull a lot of punches though, Lucy’s still pretty tough on Charlie Brown. We pushed it as far as we could.”
Feig called Charlie Brown “the eternal optimist.” He learns from his past failures, but keeps looking forward.
“He doesn’t let it get him down. He absorbs the blow and he’s affected by it, so he’s not so unrealistically resilient that he doesn’t feel it, but then he regroups and wakes up the next day and says here I go again. I think that’s the greatest lesson any kid or adult can have,” Feig said. It’s a lesson he says he’s tried to absorb for himself as well.
“If you’re in showbusiness or any business, you just get kicked to the ground every day, but you’ve gotta rise back up and keep at it and eventually it’ll work out.”