Director Genndy Tartakovsky (Star Wars: Clone Wars, Samurai Jack), having two giant hits with Hotel Transylvania and Hotel Transylvania 2, is currently working on Hotel Transylvania 3 (July 2018). In the meantime, he and his team at Sony Pictures Animation thought it would be fun to check-in on the stars of the franchise (and they were right).
The new short, Puppy!, features the Hotel Transylvania family of monsters in a hilarious, pet-friendly adventure that turns their whole world upside-down. Puppy is attached to The Emoji Movie and debuts in theaters today. You can snag your tickets right here at Fandango.
Check out this exclusive trailer for the short below.
In addition to premiering the trailer for the new short, we recently spoke with Genndy Tartakovsky via phone about Puppy!, the upcoming film and the greater Hotel Transylvania franchise.
Fandango: What can you tell us about Puppy!?
Genndy Tartakovsky: Well, basically we started writing the third Hotel Transylvania movie and Kristine Belson, who is the head of Sony Pictures Animation, she said, “Maybe we should do a short to keep the property alive until the next movie comes out.” And I was like, “Sure.”
Sometimes with these shorts, especially around features, they never get made, so I came up with this idea of Dennis getting a puppy that seemed really fun. Along the way I always thought it would die [the short, not the actual puppy] at this point, or it will die at the next point, but it kept surviving as it went through the approval gauntlet. The next thing you know, we’re animating it. It started coming alive, and it was really fun.
Fandango:So this wasn’t a storyline that just didn’t fit in the third film? It was a creature all its own.
Tartakovsky: Oh yeah, it was a remember these guys? They’ve been away for a couple of years . . . they’re back.
Fandango:Is it harder to create a short within the world of a highly successful franchise rather than something from scratch? Is there more pressure, or are you able to play around a little bit?
Tartakovsky: I think it’s actually easier, because you do know the characters and everything is already existing. You can jump in. The most difficult part is you only have three or four minutes to make it entertaining and funny, and you’re kind of under the microscope for that, which is hard. Comedy is the hardest thing to do.
Fandango: Can we expect to see the character Puppy in Hotel Transylvania 3?
Tartakovsky: Yes. We are planning to put him in.
Fandango:Puppy is, obviously, a monster puppy, and my kids want to know if he’s a rescue, or is there some sort of monster pet store? Do we know this?
Tartakovsky: Well, we don’t know it, but Dracula, you know, he’s in touch with the monster world . . . he’s connected.
Pictured above: A scene from Hotel Transylvania 2
Fandango:Are you planning to do any more shorts set in the Hotel Transylvania world?
Tartakovsky: We don’t know. Right now we’re just focusing on the third movie, but who knows what’s in store after that.
Fandango:Do you see the franchise as a trilogy, or could it expand even further?
Tartakovsky: I think the great thing is, these stories are all family experiences, except, you know, they’re a family of monsters . . . I don’t even think of it as a third movie, more like a story where you say, “Now this happens.”
Tartakovsky: Yes, exactly. All of the characters evolve and that’s what makes it fun. It wasn’t difficult at all to come up with a third storyline, because it’s about the characters and that’s great.
Fandango:You can always tell when it was difficult to come up with a third storyline.
Fandango:You’ve had great success over the years. Do you ever give nods or add Easter eggs to your previous works in any of your current projects?
Tartakovsky: Yes, here and there, but I try not to do it too much or it becomes self-serving. Like in the first Hotel movie, Johnny’s scooter had a Dexter’s Laboratory sticker on it. Nobody could really see it, but it was there. It’s usually other artists that put them in. I try not to lead the way with that.
Fandango:What has been the most rewarding thing for you about working on Puppy!, but also the Hotel Transylvania franchise in general?
Tartakovsky: For Puppy!, it was creating this new character, it’s fun, the animation. That’s kind of the answer for the whole franchise, bringing this more cartoony, more energetic, physical, visceral style of animation that’s just, well, “cartoony” is really the best word for it. That’s become our signature, and makes us stand out from other movies. In the Puppy! short especially, we brought—the animation brought—an energy to the cartoon where you may not be giggling or laughing at every scene, but there is entertainment energy throughout. It’s a really fun short, especially if you’re a dog owner, but even if you’re not it keeps everything accessible, and it lets you fondly remember the family of our monsters.