Tomorrow will mark the 30th anniversary of director Robert Zemeckis' cinematic masterpiece: Who Framed Roger Rabbit. To celebrate the movie that captured our hearts and blew people’s minds before CGI animation was a thing, SYFY WIRE is taking a look back at the beloved film.
Opening in theaters on June 22, 1988, the Academy Award-winning film executive produced by Steven Spielberg and written by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman was a blend of live-action and cell animation set in 1947 Los Angeles. The premise had actors living and working alongside cartoons in Hollywood.
The wonderful Who Framed Roger Rabbit was based on Gary K. Wolf's 1981 mystery novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which told a similar story, but by using comic strips instead. However, the team behind the movie decided to use all those classic cartoon characters we all know and love — which were called "toons" in the film — who resided in the colorful town of... what else? Toontown.
The film starred the late Bob Hoskins as a down-on-his-luck private eye named Eddie Valiant who becomes an alcoholic after the death of his brother and partner at the hands of a toon. Vowing never to work for toons again, Eddie ends up helping wildly successful toon star Roger Rabbit (after a bit of begging) clear his name after Roger was framed for the murder of Marvin Acme.
Back to the Future's Christopher Lloyd plays the villainous Judge Doom, who finds a way to permanently kill toons and whose true dastardly plan is to wipe Toontown off the map to build a freeway. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was also famous for introducing everyone's favorite animated sultry bombshell, Jessica Rabbit (voiced by Kathleen Turner), to moviegoers and teen boys everywhere.
The film spent a long time in development, with Pee-wee Herman at one point set to voice Roger. Spielberg brought in Zemeckis to helm the film after Terry Gilliam passed on it. Then Spielberg set about the gargantuan task of securing the rights to every possible cartoon characters one can think of… including another cartoon bombshell: Betty Boop. Harrison Ford, Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy were all considered for the role of Eddie and several sequels were even worked on over the years, with one being touted as recently as 2016.
Check out our exclusive video to learn a whole lot more about Who Framed Roger Rabbit and let us know if the film still holds up for you 30 years later.
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.