For the first time in 60 years, this famous Sanrio cat gets her time under Hollywood’s spotlight.
As announced last week by Deadline, the Hollywood live-action remake featuring Hello Kitty has finally found a talent to fill the director’s seat. New Line Cinema, who’s set to oversee the adaptation beside FlynnPictureCo., has hired Jennifer Coyle and Leo Matsuda to steer the Sanrio cat’s first feature film.
In explaining the studio’s choice, New Line Cinema president and chief creative officer Richard Brener said that Jennifer and Leo [are] two directors who not only share a profound connection to the unforgettable characters Shintaro Tsuji and Sanrio have created over the past 40-plus years with Hello Kitty and her friends, but also have the imagination, talent and heart to bring this iconic world to life on the big screen.”
Coyle directed the animated show Bob’s Burgers for six seasons and has most recently served as a supervising producer on HBO Max’s Harley Quinn animated series.
Matsuda most recently worked on the Abominable for DreamWorks Animation. His talent for animation goes way back, though, starting at Walt Disney Animation and working as a story artist for hit animated films such as Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, and Zootopia.
According to Screen Rant, Coyle believes that the Hello Kitty brand embodies the positivity and inclusivity that the world needs right now. Meanwhile, Matsuda has also disclosed that, growing up in Brazil with a Japanese family, Hello Kitty has been an important part of his upbringing.
Talks about a Hollywood animated film on Hello Kitty have circulated as early as 2015. However, it wasn’t until 2019 that New Line finally sealed the deal with Sanrio. Negotiations were strict, as Sanrio has never granted any other entity rights to its characters before. With the movie’s release, it also sets a milestone as Sanrio’s first film to be produced outside of Japan in its 60-year history.
The upcoming Hello Kitty animated film follows the heels of other adaptations of popular Japanese characters like 2019’s Detective Pokemon and 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog.
As pertinent details regarding production remain scarce, questions abound: Will it be a live-action or a hybrid adaptation? Whose voices will join the film? How will they even make Hello Kitty talk? We’re all curious, but we’re going to have to wait.