The cult following behind Bill Watterston’s ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ comic strip will get a bone soon, thanks to a biopic deal picked up by Warner Bros. that will look at the notoriously private life of one of the most beloved comic strip creators of all time.
As yet unnamed, the biopic will be adapted from a screenplay dubbed “A Boy and His Tiger” by Dan Dollar at the hands of none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, who recently signed on as a producer along with Roy Lee of ‘Sherlock Holmes’ fame. In fact, DiCaprio seems to be the driving force behind the Watterston biopic’s production, having initially brought the script to Warner Bros. for development.
But, perhaps not surprisingly, all this is going down without approval from Watterston himself. In fact, Watterston is so reclusive in the public eye that over the last 20 years, he’s given just two interviews. By email.
Watterston has shied away from the spotlight since ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ took off shortly after its publication debut in 1985. His limited-exposure lifestyle carried over into his comics over the strip’s 10-year run, with Watterston never licensed any characters for merchandizing. Charles Schultz’s ‘Peanuts’ characters and Jim Davis’ ‘Garfield’ are inescapable by comparison.
DiCaprio’s effort to publicize the Bill Watterston story isn’t the first attempt, though. In April of this year, Joel Allen Schroeder’s documentary, ‘Dear Mr. Watterston,’ premiered to a lukewarm response and also did not manage to nab Watterston’s support. How exactly the actor-turned-producer will create a ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ film without any rights to the characters, however, remains to be seen.
For the sake of our childhoods, Mr. DiCaprio, please make this work.