Ralph Bakshi talks about ‘Wizards” and it’s possible sequel

Ralph Bakshi is now best for his animated films like “Fritz the Cat”, “Wizards”, 1978’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “American Pop”.  Ralph is a legend in the animated world and has such a unique vision.  Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Ralph about his films and he even leaked a very cool top secret news about a possible sequel to one of his films.

Mike Gencarelli: Let’s talk about the recent Blu-ray release of “Wizards”, tell us about your involvement?
Ralph Bakshi: Fox did it all by themselves.  They can be a good company when they want to be [laughs].  They did the book by themselves, designed and remastered it.  Then they called me and told me that they were going to release it.  I nearly had a heart attack.  But I loved the picture and I think they did such a great job.

MG: “Wizards” only cost $1 million dollars and looks great, how do you feel about these polished $150 million dollar animated films today?
RB: The artists who are making these films today are so talented.  The kids today are coming out of school with this computer knowledge and its just great. I think it is all too much of the same.  I think that they focus more on the merchandising.  I think they should do something with more of a social bite or dabble in the R-rated area, if not only to do one and try and push the boundaries.   When I was doing my films like “Heavy Traffic” and “Fritz the Cat”, I was yelling at Disney for those same reasons.

MG: There aren’t too many people that are able to pull off adult animated films, why do you think that people steer clear of doing these?
RB: That is a great question Mike, let me tell you what it’s like.  Guys get the wrong impression about my R-rated films.  They think it is about sex, tits ‘n ass and cursing.  Basically what is underlining all of my films are political ideas.  In “Heavy Traffic”, Michael’s father was a racist and he had a black girlfriend.  Those are issues that far transcend the dirty words, the sex and the violence that people think that R-rated violence is all about.  I never start my animated films with trying to shock somebody.  I try to have a reason to make the film personable.

MG: A few years ago there was talk of a sequel to “Wizards”, any chance it will still happen?
RB: Well Mike, you are the first person to hear this.  I don’t know why they never made a sequel but right now, the head of Dark Horse Comics, Mike Richardson, is writing a script for “Wizards 2″. He and his partner are writing the script and he is very interested in making the movie.  I feel that Dark Horse is really the right team in order to get this project done. I will definitely read it once it is completed but I doubt I will direct, probably executive produce. I would also contribute storyboards and sketches for the film if needed. In order for it to work though, I feel that it has to also be political important with what is going on today.

MG: What would you say was your most difficult production?
RB: Well look, they were all hard.  I left the business burnt out and crazy.  Every picture I had was a massive fight.  Like with “Fritz The Cat”, Robert Crumb hated my guts and was screaming at me.  They gave me an X-rating and my mother was mad at me.  Everyone of them was hard.  Everyone of them I worked seven days a week with no money.  I am shocked but happy that people still love these films.  I am grateful to the internet and guys like you who have saved my ass.

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