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The Teletubbies Movie is the 2011 British-American live-action family's film based on the classic PBS Kids TV series, Teletubbies. The movie was directed by James Bobin and produced by Alex Harshegyi and Andy Davenport. The film was produced by Ragdoll Produdctions and distributed by Walt Disney Studios.

The movie has also been created to revive the television series.

Plot

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Cast

  • Simon Shelton as Tinky Winky
  • Nikky Smedley as Laa-Laa
  • Pui Fan Lee as Po
  • John Simmit as Dipsy

Production

Development

In 2008, Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller pitched a concept for a Teletubbies film to Walt Disney Studios Executive Vice President of Production Karen Falk, and they were offered a deal to develop their script. The news became public in March 2008 when Variety first reported that Disney had signed a deal with Segel and Stoller, with Segel and Stoller writing the script and Stoller directing. In June 2008, Jason Segel announced that he had turned in the first draft of his script and was hopeful that the film would live up to previous Teletubbies movies. Later in 2008, Stoller noted that he and Segel had written an "old school Teletubbies movie, where the Teletubbies have to put on a show to save the studio." In this same interview, Stoller also confirmed that they would get as many cameos and guest stars as possible and that Jason Segel would play a ventriloquist.

Originally, the film was titled The Greatest Teletubby Movie of All Time!!!, and an early leak of the script suggested that it would feature celebrity cameos by Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Christian Bale, Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, George Clooney, Jack Black, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Mel Brooks, Matt Damon, Anne Hathaway, Emily Blunt, Rachael Ray, Bob Saget, Lisa Lampanelli, Jeff Ross, and Charles Grodin. Another former title of the film was The Cheapest Teletubby Movie Ever Made!, after an unused script was written by the late Jerry Juhl back in 1985. Although early reports indicated that Stoller would direct the film, in January 2010 it was announced that James Bobin would direct the movie. In February 2010, additional details about the plot surfaced, indicating that the film would be about a villain that wanted to drill for oil underneath the old Home Dome and that the only way to stop him would be to put on a show that draws ten million viewers. Reports from the summer of 2010 revealed that the production team had met with the creative heads at Pixar to fine-tune the script. During the summer of 2010, it was announced that the film would be released on Christmas 2011, but in December 2010, the release date was moved to Thanksgiving 2011.

In October 2010, it was confirmed that Kristine Wall, Chris Cooper, and Jane Westrop would also be starring in the film. Over the next few months, several guest cameo announcements emerged, including, but not limited to Emily Blunt, Ricky Gervais, Zack Galifianakis, Billy Crystal, Jack Black, Alan Arkin, and Dave Grohl. However, Gervais, Crystal and several other cameos including Beth Broderick, Kathy Griffin, Ed Helms, Sterling Knight, Mila Kunis, Ben Stiller, Eric Stonestreet, Wanda Sykes, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Danny Trejo were completely omitted from the film due to time constraints (Though Gervais can be seen in the musical finale). Jim Parsons' cameo was kept as a secret by producers despite rumors that leaked on the Internet regarding his role in the film. In a March 2009 interview on The Late Late Show, Segel revealed that he had asked host Craig Ferguson to appear in the film, and at the time, he (Ferguson) had been the only person that had agreed. Ferguson was ultimately not given a role, for which he chastised Segel in a November 2011 interview.

During the summer of 2010, Flight of the Conchords co-star Bret McKenzie flew to UK to serve as the music supervisor for The Teletubbies.

Filming

Filming started in late 2010, with the first set photos emerging in December 2010. The November 12, 2010, issue of Entertainment Weekly featured a spread about The Teletubbies Movie, including a summary of the film's concept, quotes from Segel and Bobin, the first images of Jennifer, and new photos of the Teletubbies with Jason Segel.

Hollywood Boulevard was closed for two nights in January 2011 to film a reprise of "Life's a Happy Song", the final musical number for the movie. According to /Film, the shoot involved Kristine Wall, Daniel Rigby, and hundreds of extras performing an elaborate musical number outside the El Capitan Theatre. The UK Times also noted that other musical numbers would appear in the film, including Tinky Winky singing his signature song, "Rainbow Connection", which he played on the same banjo that he used when he performed the song in The Teletubby Movie.

Universal Studios' Soundstage 28, most famous for containing the Paris Opera House set from 1925 Phantom of the Opera film, served as interiors for The Home Dome, with the Opera House being used as part of the theater set. Scenes at the fictional "Teletubbyland" were filmed in Hollywood at both the El Capitan Theatre (with a digitally changed marquee), at the Jim Henson Company Lot and at Warner Bros. studios.

Other filming locations included Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills, the outside of Wheatland, CA, Pink Palace Mansion in Bel Air, and the former ARCO headquarters building in downtown UK. Dipsy's scene in the Teletubby reunion montage was filmed at Google's Zurich headquarters in Switzerland.

Although principal photography was completed on February 11, 2011, on April 26, 2011, a second unit film crew traveled to Reno, Nevada to film some exterior shots, including a scene in the Bonanza Casino parking lot with some Teletubby characters, and a small shot looking into the casino.

The film required extensive blue-screen shots and matte backgrounds. In the scene where Jennifer Wall is dancing atop a dresser, the puppeteers performed Jennifer's choreography while wearing blue costumes against a blue screen. The end result had the puppeteers completely gone from the final shot. Look Effects were responsible for those visual effects shots.

Sequel

In March 2012, after the critical and commercial success of the film, Walt Disney Pictures secured a deal with James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller to direct and write, respectively, a new installment. On March 4, Jason Segelstated that he would have no involvement in the sequel. On April 24, the Walt Disney Studios officially announced that the sequel, tentatively titled The Teletubbies 2, is in development. Ty Burrell has reportedly signed on for the sequel, replacing Christoph Waltz after the latter had scheduling conflicts. David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will return to produce the film, as well as Bret McKenzie returning to write music for the film. On December 18, 2012, Ricky Gervais signed for the sequel. Six days later, Waltz reaffirmed his role in the film, clarifying that it was reduced to a possible cameo instead.

The movie started filming in January 2013 at Pinewood Studios in England. In February 6 2013, The movie has been received an official name: The Teletubbies Movie 2: To Walt Tubbie World

It is released in March 21, 2014.

Trivia

  • This is the first Teletubby film to officially be made by Disney.

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