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Director Matthew O'Callaghan Talks About the Family Movie "Curious George"

O'Callaghan on Bringing the Adorable Monkey to the Big Screen


Director Matthew O'Callaghan Talks About the Family Movie

Director Matthew O'Callaghan at the Hollywood Premiere of Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment's "Curious George."

© Richard Chavez
Director Matthew O’Callaghan on How He Got Involved with “Curious George:” “I was an animator at Disney for several years and I’ve been in family entertainment for about 20 years at various studios. I had last done a picture at Disney with Mickey Mouse and Disney was happy with that. And then when I started talking to Universal, I think that they knew that Disney had trusted me with Mickey Mouse and they felt that ‘Curious George’ was extremely important to them. I think that just when you meet the studio executives and the producers and stuff, it’s just how you come across.”

Matthew O’Callaghan on the “Curious George” Voice Cast: “Will Ferrell was sort of set before I came on board. I’ve always been a big fan of Drew Barrymore so I suggested her to the studio and they all loved the idea of her. Dick Van Dyke was something… Again, he was a guy I always wanted to work with. I was surprised when I actually finally met him that he had never done an animated voice before, with his association with Disney for all those years. I was just blown away so I’m going, ‘This is great,’ because as an animation director you always want to use people who are fresh, who haven’t done animated voices – at least I do. So it was really exciting to get him in the room and work with him. You know, he is very funny and extremely warm and has a great quality to his voice and I think it’s perfect for the film.”

Matthew O’Callaghan on the Look of “Curious George:” While most animated movies are going the CG route, the “Curious George” filmmakers chose the old-school 2D animation to capture the feel of H.A. and Margret Rey’s books. O’Callaghan says, “I give a lot of credit to Ron Howard and the people at Universal for wanting to go that direction. I think it is kind of brave in this day and age when everybody is going toward computer animation to actually make a stand and say, ‘You know what? The books are illustrated. It’s the best compliment to the source material is traditional animation.’ Since my background is traditional animation starting at Disney over the years, I just fell right in. I said, ‘Yeah, this is the way to do this film.’”

Keeping the Adult Humor Out of “Curious George:” “Well I think with the idea that we’re doing ‘Curious George,’ again you want to stay true to the source material, and I think there are levels of entertainment value for adults. It’s not all geared for 2-year-olds but there aren’t any innuendos or anything inappropriate. You want to sort of make it a package film that respects the books.

I think people who come to the films and are used to the ‘Curious George’ books – I don’t think you want to disappoint them. I think you want to stay true to the books and I don’t think you want to present something completely different to them. But I think when you’re making a film, you want to hit all levels. You want to have a lot of visual humor for the kids but you also want some nice jokes and great relationships and stuff like that to keep the parents interested as well. Because, as we all know with kids, you get that DVD at home and kids run it on a loop, you don’t want the moms going [holding his ears], ‘Ack, shut that up!’ So hopefully it entertains at all levels.”

Matthew O’Callaghan on the Possibility of More “Curious George” Movies: “I think everybody is always hopeful. We’ll see how this one does. I would love to see more of Curious George because I think he’s such a great, endearing character.”

Matthew O'Callaghan Interview Video from the Premiere of "Curious George" - Play the Video

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