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.