Sony Pictures Animation on Monday offered a look at its latest lead character, an overprotective dad who is trying to keep his daughter safe as she celebrates her birthday and becomes an adult. But in this comedic CG-animated 3D movie, that dad is Dracula, the manager of monster resort, who is voiced by Adam Sandler.
Clips from Hotel Transylvania, which opens Sept. 28, were previewed during a press event attended by director Genndy Tartakovsky, producer Michelle Murdocca and Selena Gomez, who provides the voice of Dracula’s daughter, Mavis, who is turning 118 years old.
“It’s a father-daughter story about a parent who has to learn to let go and trust that his daughter will be OK,” said Murdocca.
The first clip reveals that Dracula has devised a fake “outside world” so that a curious and headstrong Mavis will want to stay safe at the hotel.
The movie reteams Sandler with That’s My Boy co-star Andy Samberg, who provides the voice a human teenager named Jonathan who hits it off with Mavis. In one clip, Jonathan accidently wanders into the hotel and eventually realizes that he is among monsters. Subsequent clips show Dracula urging him to leave the property, and finally, a scene during which the two form an unlikely bond after a sequence that involves flying tables.
The movie also includes the voice talents of Kevin James as Dracula’s big-hearted best friend, Frankenstein; Fran Drescher as Frankenstein’s brash wife, Eunice; Steve Buscemi as Wayne, a put-upon werewolf; Molly Shannon as Wayne’s maternal wife, Wanda; CeeLo Green as the boisterous former entertainer Murray the Mummy; David Spade as Griffin, a witty Invisible Man; and Jon Lovitz as Quasimodo, the head chef at the Hotel.
Murdocca (Open Season) has been with this project since development started in 2006. Since then, there has been a series of script, cast and crew changes. Those who have been attached to direct include Jill Culton and the team of Anthony Stacchi and David Feiss.
TV animation veteran Tartakovsky -- who has three Emmys under his belt for his work on Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: Clone Wars and Samurai Jack -- was brought on board roughly 18 months ago to make what will be his feature directorial debut.
Saying that he was drawn to the “chance to reimagine Dracula,” he related that “they didn’t want to make it scary, so I said, let’s make it really funny, especially with Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg."
“The story started out as a hotel for monsters, and sometimes when you have a great concept, sometimes the story is harder to get,” he continued. “I liked the father-daughter story: It was accessible to me, and I thought it would be accessible to an audience. We all get neurotic as parents. … I pushed for Dracula to be more of a caricature.”
He added that Sandler was "very involved" in the story changes.
Tartakovsky also aimed to make the animation “more expressive and break out from reality.”
The actors recorded some of their dialogue together, which the director said was great for the “chemistry and the timing. ... They’ve known each other for so long, it added to the sincerity.”
Asked what makes her laugh, Gomez responded, “Adam Sandler.”