Dreamworks' Movie 'Captain Underpants' Comes Out In 2017

Jan 3, 2017
Originally published on January 3, 2017 11:44 am
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now to a story about an anti-hero, one who's dressed in tighty whities.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS")

ED HELMS: (As Captain Underpants) Tra-la-la.

MARTIN: (Laughter) DreamWorks is turning "Captain Underpants" into a movie for release in 2017. As NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, the studio hopes the film's got the same level of pranks and potty humor that turned Dav Pilkey's books into best sellers.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: "The Adventures of Captain Underpants" is a series of books about two fourth graders George and Harold - best friends, comic book creators and major trouble makers. Dav Pilkey first got the idea for the books from his second grade teacher in suburban Ohio.

DAV PILKEY: She was not a very pleasant person. But she was talking about something, and she happened to say the word underwear. And we all burst out laughing. And she got really, really mad. And she said, hey, boys and girls, underwear is not funny. And we all just laughed even harder. And so that's where I got the idea from.

BLAIR: One of Pilkey characters is the mean and boring Principal Krupp.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS")

HELMS: (As Principal Krupp) Ever since you've attended this elementary school, you've been responsible for one prank after another.

BLAIR: Ed Helms voices Krupp in the movie. Thomas Middleditch from the show "Silicon Valley" plays Harold. Comedian Kevin Hart voices George. George and Harold hypnotize Krupp.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS")

KEVIN HART: (As George Beard) When I snap my fingers, you will obey our every command.

THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH AND KEVIN HART: (As Harold Hutchins and George Beard) You are now the greatest superhero of all time, the amazing Captain Underpants.

HELMS: (As Captain Underpants) Tra-la-la.

BLAIR: Krupp turns into this smiling, goofy superhero who fights crime with wedgie power. George and Harold are full of ideas which fill the pages of their comic books with titles like "Captain Underpants And The Pied Pooper Of Piqua." One of their pranks - changing a school sign to read...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS")

HELMS: (As Captain Underpants) Come see my hairy armpits.

BLAIR: David Soren, director of "Captain Underpants" the movie, says they've kept George and Harold's wild imaginations.

DAVID SOREN: We really want the movie to feel like it's being made, not by me but by George and Harold and treating it like this is their project, their feature film debut.

BLAIR: Dav Pilkey has written 12 "Captain Underpants" books. The first one debuted almost 20 years ago. He says he and his fans are ready for a movie version, which he announced on a recent book tour.

PILKEY: Every time I would say, oh, and guess what? There's going to be a "Captain Underpants" movie. And every time, the room would just explode with enthusiasm. And when I would tell kids about Kevin Hart being in it again, you know, it was like the roof would fly off the building.

BLAIR: Dav Pilkey says his only request to DreamWorks was that the movie focused on George and Harold's friendship and how they use their creativity to, in Pilkey's words, save the world. Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF JUSTIN SAMAHA SONG, "SLOW BOAT TO CHINA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.