The curtain of total secrecy — a literal security-blanket, in fact — about the Popeye filming, currently over-schedule in Malta, is finally beginning to lift. Just the odd smidgen half-inch or two. And we've got the first news . . . and the first colour rendition of Robin Williams morking his big screen starring debut as E.C. Segar’s muscular sailor-man.
He certainly doesn’t much resemble Mork from Ork anymore. Will you look at those forearms. . !
The film — a musical-comedy, it says here; script by Jules Feiffer, music from Harry Nilsson — ended up, just before shooting, as 8 combined Walt Disney and Paramount co-production. So is the new fantasy film, The Dragon Slayer. Many are the top Hollywood studios and film-makers now knocking on the Disney door for co-producing deals . .. since the Disney company is literally rolling in the greenstuff via the vast takings daily at Disneyland in California and Disneyworld in Florida.
Putting Popeye on film — with live-action, not animation — is the idea of the former Paramount production chief, Robert Evans. It's the sixth project for the sometime actor, disc-jokey and gents’ clothier. He turned producer in his own right with the highly successful Polanski film, Chinatwon, in 1974.
Since the comparative failure of his fourth film, Players — “not only a disappointment but a disaster on every level’ — Bob Evans is in need of a hit. First report of Robin as Popeye seems to assure just that. Plus Evans’ inspired choice of director, MAS*H and Nashville man, Robert Altman.