Ed Solomon and Chris Matheson (writers of Bill & Ted) stop motion project “Automatons” was intended for a sketch movie, but it was dropped in 2004 after a series of hard rejections from studios who labeled it “too weird to work.”
However, thanks to the critical success of the recently released Bill & Ted Face the Music, the project may be brought to life again.
“Automatons follows Otto and Rob, two robots created during WWII to kill Hitler, who miss their chance when their submarine sinks and spend 70 years wandering the bottom of the ocean and developing human characteristics, most notably crippling insecurity.
If that doesn’t sound bizarre enough, the pair then find themselves in modern Minneapolis, where Hitler and Mussolini (who are alive because they had been cryogenically frozen) are trying to redeem themselves by performing a knock-off Charlie Brown musical.
The project only currently exists in four short films that Solomon and Matheson made with Screen Novelties and a “group out of Portland (Bent Image Lab),” according to Solomon.
They had even recorded vocals with a super star-studded cast, including Jack Black, John C. Reilly, Sylvester Stallone, John Cleese, Fred Armisen, Holly Hunter, Billy Bob Thornton, Gary Shandling, William H. Macy, Rachel Dratch, Catherine O’Hara, Deidrich Bader, Dennis Haysbert, and Chris Parnell. Now, if Solomon and Matheson could get a few of those stars back on board, Automatons would be a certified hit.
Solomon and Matheson had recorded audio for the entire movie through their own financing but were rejected by every studio they brought it to for being too weird. After all these years, Solomon is still passionate about the project and even teased that the film may finally happen on Adult Swim. Solomon’s quote from the interview can be read below:
“I tweeted about ‘Automatons’ and someone named Matt from Adult Swim reached out to me about maybe doing it. I want to reach out to Matt again about that because that was a really fun, unsung little gem that never went anywhere, one of the weirdest, funniest, strangest things I’ve ever been involved with.”
In 2004 that may be weird, but maybe this time it will get made, thanks to a renewed interest on stop motion features, thanks to studios like Laika, Aardman, etc. Also, the amount of adult stories these days gives this project a fighting chance, trough channels like Adult Swim, where the kooky, irreverent, bizarre humor may give this project a home. Let´s hope for the best!