The Jetsons: What Happened to the Live-Action Movie?

The JetsonsAfter months of deep space-like silence, it appears that the The Jetsons movie project is still alive -– almost two years since it was first announced. So, when will the futuristic family finally be ready to make the jump from animation to live action? Will we have to wait until the 24th century?

Following the success of The Flintstones, Hanna-Barbera’s The Jetsons animated series first aired in primetime during the 1962-63 season. Set in the far-flung future, the show gives a humorous take on our lifestyle and revolves around the Jetson family — working-stiff father George (George O’Hanlon), mother Jane (Penny Singleton), daughter Judy (Janet Waldo), son Elroy (Daws Butler), Astro the dog (Don Messick), and Rosie (Jean Vander Pyl), their robot maid. Other voices are provided by Mel Blanc and Howard Morris.

Unlike The Flintstones, the show only lasted one season but it became a staple of Saturday morning television for decades and was revived briefly in the 1980s for a syndicated run. The Jetson clan have also returned for commercials, comic books, games, made-for-TV movies, and a 1990 animated feature film.

Still, it’s the prospect of a live-action version of The Jetsons that has excited imaginations across the globe — and perhaps even the galaxy.

In 2007, Robert Rodriguez (of Sin City, Grindhouse, and Spy Kids fame) entered into talks with Universal Studios and Warner Bros. about filming a Jetsons movie, with a possible 2009 release. He was trying to decide on his next project and the Jetsons movie supposedly had the edge because a script had already been completed. Though he maintained interest, Rodriguez focused on other projects.

The Jetsons script, written by Adam F. Goldberg, is set in the year 2307 and remains mostly true to the simple vision of the original 1960s series — a retro 1960s version of the future, complete with flying bubble-top cars and complex machines performing simple tasks.

Who would you like to see play George Jetson?

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In the story, George is falling behind at Spacely Sprokets and a new robot, Uniblab, has been put in charge of his division. Jane is becoming frustrated with her hum-drum housewife life, Judy is trying to fit in with the popular crowd at school, and Elroy is being bullied by some of his classmates.

All of the characters would be portrayed by live actors, with the exception of Astro who would be created via CGI (in a similar vein to the Cats & Dogs movie). Some possible names associated with the leading roles have included William H. Macy or Steve Carrell for George and Danny De Vito playing George’s tyrannical boss, Mr. Spacely.

Though it apparently attracted Rodriguez to the project, it’s unknown if any of Goldberg’s script will still be utilized as production plans get underway. Producer Donald De Line told Dark Horizons that the director’s finished his own draft of the script and is currently in talks with Warner Bros. about the specifics.

If all goes well, it now looks like the film will be getting a 2012 release. Rodriguez is currently working on his pet sci-fi project, Nerverackers, and will then turn his attention to the Jetsons movie. He’s apparently been doing some film tests for the movie and has been quite pleased with the outcome.

Canceled and renewed TV show

8 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. alan says

    jim carrey as george jetson lori loughiln as jane jetson jodie sweetin or mary-kate olsen as judy jetson danny woodbum as Mr. Spacely dave coulier as dog please please

  2. Rob says

    Whatever happened to Steve Martin being cast as George Jetson? And I thought Lindsay Lohan had the shoe-in for Judy. No one else but DeVito for the role of Spacely, though.

  3. jesse says

    I was thinking maybe Conan O’brien for the George Jetson character. I’m pretty sure he would offer the hints of cartoonish antics without stooping too low to get the jokes.. just an everyday man thrust into the future, almost. just trying to make it. And he’s already got the hair. I’m watching the Jetsons as I’m typing this, actually. Boomerang channel. Danny Devito is definitely Spacely. If you can think of another short, chubby guy, let me know. Judy.. maybe Jessica Simpson.. and Elroy, maybe Daeg Faerch the young Michael Myers in the new Halloween-he has the face for it. Maybe it will keep him from being some sort of typecast If he’d be up for it. I think I have gone off on enough of a tangent. That’s my thoughts. MAYBE it would be a completely jumbled cast though. lol.

    • Kent says

      How about Jason Alexander for Spacely. He can definitely do the over-the–top histrionics that the part calls for.


  4. Dave says

    I have no idea what speedracer was before the movie came out. I`m 28. But i do remember Jetsons fondly.

    Paul – Actually, Jetsons would still work as they are no flying cars and houses in the sky in the year 2009. So we still don`t know what the future holds.

  5. dude says

    Perhaps some valid points, but saying a Robert Rodriguez movie would balloon is budget is ridiculous. Rodriguez is one of the most cost efficient directors out there. If you’re going to take a gamble on this movie, he’s the one you want to do it.

  6. paul says

    A Jetsons live action would be a FAIL. Scooby Doo & Flintstones, in particular, were successful, but they weren’t exactly blockbusters. The $45 million budget that Flintstones used up 15 years ago (to it’s $130 million gross) was standard money for a film, but compared to today, the budget, especially for something like The Jetsons, would easily be triple that amount. Considering Rodriguez on the helm, make that quadruple the amount.

    See, what made Jetsons irresistible back then is the futuristic look at how incredible the future would be, and yet it stayed true to everyday issues, like family, work, and all sorts of everyday problems. It never took itself seriously, though. Now, that flashy futuristic look is a joke. There are no flying cars. We don’t live in single family homes a mile into the sky & we certainly don’t have cranky sarcastic robot maids. If any of that were to be placed in a movie, it would have been done a hundred times over in many other movies over the last 40 years. Seriously, family fare films need more depth then that nowadays to keep the adults awake.

    To top it off, the Jetsons animated movie didn’t fare well at the box office back in 1990, and the numerous animated Jetsons TV movies (like The Jetsons: Father & Son Day) were watched by… no one.

    If the movie does get made, my estimates are 130 million dollar budget, with an 60 million dollar return. Don’t beileve me? Look at the recent Speedracer. Also a popular 60’s cartoon, remade a few times, and failed so bad at the box office, if it wasn’t for that bat movie, Warner Bros. would be in some kind of trouble.

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