‘The Grinch’ Was Almost a CG-Animated Movie Starring Jack Nicholson
Back in the mid-1990s as Dr. Suess’ widow, Audrey Geisel, looked to adapt some of her husband’s more popular works into film, she received a few pitches for movie versions of the classic book ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.’ One of those would be from Ron Howard, who would eventually direct Jim Carrey in a live-action adaptation of the ‘Grinch’ story. Another one, only now revealed, would’ve been a CG-animated movie with Jack Nicholson starring as The Grinch.
Artist Berkeley Breathed (who you might know from his popular comic strip “Bloom County”) recently posted these never-before-seen concept art drawings [via Brian Michael Bendis] he worked on for a new animated ‘Grinch’ movie with inspiration taken directly from Nicholson. Says Breathed in a post about the concept:
In the mid-nineties, we made a bid for The Grinch movie rights. I saw the film as being a CG animated romp with Jack Nicholson in the lead role and created the art here to demonstrate. Dr. Suess’s widow Audrey Geisel enjoyed our vision. She enjoyed the vision of Ron Howard and Universal’s option money somewhat more, alas. The rest is Jim Carrey live-action movie history. Nobody but Audrey has ever seen these. Enjoy and muse along with me what might have been.
Despite airing somewhat incessantly during the Christmas season, the Jim Carrey ‘Grinch’ movie was something of a creative disappointment, coming during a weird time when Universal was intent to turn the Dr. Suess books into live-action movies (see also: ‘The Cat in the Hat’). As the years went on, Universal did go the CG-animated route for a number of other Suess books including ‘Horton Hears a Who’ and ‘The Lorax,’ and we’re interested to see how a modern CG-animated ‘Grinch’ movie would look. We won’t have to wait long as the makers of those movies are already working on an animated ‘Grinch’ movie for Christmas 2015.
We’re not sure we love the Nicholson hybrid (his voice would work, but The Grinch should look like The Grinch, not Jack Nicholson), but as the artist says, it’s interesting to see what might have been.