During Wednesday night's epic three-hour Twitter rant, Kanye West told the world, “I was just discussing becoming the creative director for the Jetson movie,” a claim we just had to investigate. So here are the facts: Kanye West is not now and is not ever going to be “the creative director” of The Jetsons movie, because, for starters, “There is no such thing on a movie,” explains The Jetsons producer Denise DiNovi, “There’s an art director and a production designer.” And for another, there is no The Jetsons movie — at least, not yet. But Yeezy did have a conversation with the producers this week about working on the film, in some capacity, when it does come together.
First, the status of The Jetsons: The title has been kicked around in development over the years, but is no closer to becoming a film than it ever was. In fact, producers — neither of which had yet seen the Kanye tweets on Thursday afternoon — are in the process of finding a new screenwriter to come up with a back-to-square-one take on the project.
Second, even if there was a both a script and a need for an art director or production designer, those hires would need to be made by The Jetsons director — of which there is none, either. (An earlier report incorrectly listed Robert Rodriguez as the director, but reps for Rodriguez say he’s no longer connected to the project and producers say he hasn’t been involved for almost two years.)
This is not to say that West hasn’t been knocking on Warner Bros. door about The Jetsons movie. He has — for much of the decade, it turns out. “The last two years I had various forms of communication from the studio that he had this real love and interest in The Jetsons as an artist,” explains The Jetsons producer Donald De Line, “My response was always through representatives, ‘Well, that’s great. We’ll let him know when we have a screenplay.’ I was thinking he was interested in it on a musical level, but apparently he’s deeply interested in art and architecture and wanted to be involved.”
So what did happen between West and Warners? Wednesday, the studio agreed to set up a conference call with producers and West, but it was, as De Line puts it, “preliminary and exploratory and introductory. We explained how our process usually works, that usually there’s a screenplay, and a director in place first, and that this was … a nontraditional way, but then, he’s a guy with his fingers in a lot of pies, and who likes to work out-of-the-box.”
How did the call go? When we asked Di Novi, who’s overseen its development for the last several years, she said, “I don’t know him; until yesterday, I’d never talked to him in my life. I don’t know what else to tell you. He’s not the creative director on the movie, but I loved his passion for The Jetsons. He gets the whole thing about the future that never was. He sees us living on a precipice of technology — cameras in your eye, your mind as a remote control to fire lasers — and wonders how things are going to break, for good or for bad.”
DeLine described the conference call as a “free-form conversation” that lasted only about ten minutes Wednesday afternoon. Both he and Di Novi stressed that West was not hired on in any capacity — “He’s just a friend of the court,” she insists — and that things ended on a “‘If you come up with any ideas, let us know,' kind of way.”