Hotel Transylvania Director Genndy Tartakovsky Tells Tales Outside the Lab

Abbott and Costello, and Deedee and Dexter also had the visual balance. Yeah, the visual balance of the fat and skinny, and tall and short. Tell me about balance in animated humor.

I mean, it goes back to the purest source. It’s you have one tall, skinny, Laurel Hardy. You have one tall and skinny and one’s short and fat. That dynamic, especially with drawing and animation, you want to go … You can push those limits much more than human life, so you can exaggerate it and have somebody be a little square, which was Dexter, and Deedee ended up just pretty much being a stick with a head on it. You keep pushing that difference and it ends up being … At one point, you hit upon an icon and like, “Oh, look. There it is. There’s that perfect blend.”

Mark Mothersbaugh did the music. Tell me about working with Mister Devo.

Mark is great. Mark is the ultimate creative. You know when he’s look at something, he’s looking at it in a completely different perspective and view that you’re looking at it, and that’s pretty magical. I met a lot of artists in my time, and I’m always amazed at them because they really view life from a different perspective, from a different lens, and that’s what makes them so unique and iconic and great, and Mark is that person. He approaches things from a very different point of view, which is what you want, which will make your stuff better. The music, especially for this third movie, is really funny and eclectic. We pushed it to be more cartoony music and break it out of the more normal movie score, because I’m making a big cartoon and so I want big music. Working with Mark is fantastic.

Of all your cartoons, which one’s most you?

I think Dexter and Samurai have really represented me. Dexter’s probably the best representation because it’s funny and there’s action, where Samurai Jack was a little darker, even though we had lots of lighter things. The purest is, for sure, Dexter because I like the humor and then I like to do really cool, fun action that doesn’t take itself too seriously. But in my older days, I think the new things that I have going are going a little darker. Not that I think that I’m darker, but that’s where I’m heading. Because I think of when I push the envelope and see what I can get.

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