Lasagna-on-demand, physical comedy, emotional stakes – filmmakers on what to expect from “The Garfield Movie,” in cinemas May 29

After nearly 50 years of comic strip stardom (thanks to creator Jim Davis!) and hilarious TV specials, Garfield is back on the big screen in The Garfield Movie, an animated film that brings together everything that audiences love about the famous orange tabby – plus a few things they never knew.

“You know Garfield loves lasagna and hates Mondays, but he’s never had this kind of adventure until now,” says Chris Pratt, who voices everyone’s favorite curmudgeonly housecat as he takes on a big, hilarious cat-out-of-water adventure in the all-new, all-animated movie.

In The Garfield Movie, Garfield, the world-famous, Monday-hating, lasagna-loving indoor cat, is about to have a wild outdoor adventure! After an unexpected reunion with his long-lost father – scruffy street cat Vic (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) – Garfield and his canine friend Odie (voiced by Harvey Guillén) are forced from their perfectly pampered life into joining Vic in a hilarious, high-stakes heist. The voice cast includes Hannah Waddingham, Ving Rhames, Nicholas Hoult, Cecily Strong and Snoop Dogg. 

Says producer Andrew Kosove, “The Garfield Movie is really a film for the entire family. There are emotional stakes and characters you care about – and of course hijinks and physical comedy.”

To show those emotional stakes, it was necessary for the cynical cat to show some kind of growth (and not just around the middle). “Garfield’s snark and cynicism is funny and effective in a three-panel comic,” notes producer Broderick Johnson. “In a movie, one has to have that character have some degree of growth in spite of himself. You have to root for him.”

For director Mark Dindal (The Emperor’s New GrooveChicken Little) and his team, the process began with research into what makes Garfield Garfield – and finding the places where the character can grow and change. With many thousands of Garfield strips that have entertained millions for decades, the task may have seemed daunting, but fortunately, it was easier than ever to go back and find those classic Garfield gags. 

“When we started to make the movie, we had access to a database that had all of the comic strips archived,” Dindal recalls. “You could put in a keyword like ‘Garfield eating lasagna’ or ‘Garfield hugs Odie’ and it would bring up all of these terrific comic strips that we could reference. That was a huge resource for us, to find ideas that would connect to the comic strips that the fans would relate to.”

And in this movie, Garfield gets into trouble like never before. “This movie is about an indoor cat – a lazy, pampered, self-centered indoor cat – who is forced out of his comfort zone into a crazy adventure in the outside world,” says producer John Cohen. “He’s totally ill-equipped to survive without the creature comforts of hot meals-on-demand, his La-Z-Boy chair, blanket, and remote control. There was so much opportunity for comedy in this fish-out-of-water scenario, especially with an arrogant character who’s stuck in his ways and thinks he knows better than anyone else. We had a ton of fun imagining endless possibilities for the laziest cat in the world at the center of a heist movie.”

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