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The Simpsons Movie is going to show a whole new side of Bart.
“All I can say is you’re going to see a little bit of Bart — and I mean a little bit of Bart — you’ve never seen on television,” says Nancy Cartwright, who, for 18 seasons, has been the unmistakable voice of Bart Simpson.
Longtime Simpsons executive producer Al Jean downplayed Bart’s ’toon nudity.
“It’s not full frontal, it’s youth-sidal,” he said. “It’s the most innocent thing in the world.”
Still, the movie comes with a PG-13 rating, a designation that works for Jean.
“When they rated it, they added, ‘for irreverent humour throughout.’ It’s like, ‘Yes! Humour throughout!’”
Except for a brief stint producing the short-lived animated series The Critic, Jean has been with The Simpsons since the beginning. Not since it launched in 1989 has he seen such excitement over the franchise.
Some critics have grumbled about the secrecy surrounding the movie, which opens to the public today. Only last-minute screenings are being offered to the press. The producers have also been tight-lipped about the plot of the movie. Why all the mystery?
Jean says it really has more to do with the rush to get the film to theatres than any marketing strategy.
While the writers started work on a film script as early as November 2003, most of the 87-minute feature was cranked out over the past year. That’s “the fastest turnaround that I’ve ever seen in animation,” says Jean.
Cartwright confirmed work on the film continued right up until the last possible hour.
“To do this in one year — that’s insane,” she said. “I think they had to have the final cut by June 26 and we were in there (doing last minute voice-overs) on the 25th.”
While still refusing to give away the plot, Jean said fellow executive producer Jim Brooks insisted the film “had to have this moment, after the jokes kicked in, where people go, ‘Oh my God, what happens next?’” When it comes, says Jean, “it’s an incredibly emotional moment.”
But don’t worry, he says. “It’s not like The Sopranos. Everybody’s not going to get whacked.”
The movie features plenty of Springfield’s familiar faces, although don’t look for things to get too cluttered. Jean says he was “ruthless” in weeding out anybody who wasn’t integral to the plot.
The producer is relieved he can now shift his attention to The Simpsons’ 19th season, which begins Sept. 23 on Fox and Global.