Pop Quiz: What was the most banned book in 2012? According to the American Library Association, it was not Fifty Shades of Grey or Kite Runner, it was Captain Underpants, the first of a series of children’s books written by Dav Pilkey. The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Dreamworks Animation wants Rob Letterman (Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens) to direct an adaptation of this ‘controversial’ series. Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Muppets) has written the script and Damon Ross will produce.
The Captain Underpants book series follows George and Harold, a pair of troublemakers who spend their free time making superhero comic books to sell to their classmates. Their most popular creation is Captain Underpants, the only superhero to fight evil while wearing nothing but a red cape and a pair of tighty whities. Life gets crazy one day when George and Harold hypnotize the school principal, Mr. Krupp, into believing that he is Captain Underpants. Mr. Krupp then proceeds to run around town and risk his life to fight real life criminals. While George and Harold would rather de-hypnotize Mr. Krupp and pretend that nothing happened, their town will need a superhero to protect it from such villains as Dr. Diaper, Wedgie Woman, and an army of talking toilets.
While the superhero genre has seen R-rated spoofs like Kick-Ass and Super, there have not been as many kid-friendly offerings. Given the popularity of superheros with all ages, it stands to reason that children would also like to see a lighter, sillier take on crime fighting vigilantes, costumed or otherwise. Captain Underpants certainly has potential given Letterman’s experience with Dreamworks, Stoller’s work on The Muppets, and the popularity of the source material (No. 1 best-sellers according to The New York Times and USA Today). Letterman and Stoller’s first collaboration was an adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels starring Jack Black.
No release date for Captain Underpants has been announced at this time.