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– by Nancy Tapia

The most successful animation franchises are all about family.

And the franchise of Hotel Transylvania is no exception.

Director Genny Tartakovsky is back for the third time for Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation. Most of the cast is back with Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez and Mel Brooks. They will be joined with new voice cast members with Kathryn Hahn as Ericka Van Helsing.

LRM had a sit-down interview with Tartakovsky late last month at a special presentation by Sony in Culver City to introduce never seen before footage of the film to the press and select guests. We talked about the origins of the story, new characters and what made this franchise successful.

Please note this exclusive interview includes plot spoilers

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation will be in theaters on July 13.

Read our interview transcript below.

LRM So why did we need another movie? How did that come up?

Genndy Tartakovsky: Well, I think it initially came up cause the first two [films] were very successful. Second one [was more successful] even more than the first one. So the conversation is obvious. Initially, I was very opposed to it. I felt the same way. Why a third? At the time, they had some story that they were thinking about where it was some big international heist. Maybe there’s some younger versions of themselves. It felt like it’s going the wrong way really quick. So it’s easy to say no. Then I went on this cruise and then I started to see it’s families. Really, it’s monster families. It’s what all about. Our characters on a cruise–that’s good. And I always wanted to do a story of Drac falling in love.

And so then when I came back I talked to [everyone]. It’s one of those things that as soon as I said it, everybody’s like, “Yeah, right. That’s exactly what we should be doing.” The first two are very grounded. The first one was in hotel. Second one, it’s a little bit in the suburbs and in the forest, but we didn’t really go anywhere. Now we can really opening it up, see other monster locations left for me to try like Atlantis with all these things. It sounded like a bigger, a bigger world that we could discover and it made sense for a third movie .

LRM: Definitely taking everybody out of the comfort zone, right?

Genndy Tartakovsky: Yes, absolutely.

LRM: [Laughs] What do you think makes this franchise so successful? Was there something in particular? Something that maybe others may not have? Besides your touch [Laughs]

Genndy Tartakovsky: I think to me, it’s a few things. For sure, it’s the family aspect of it, right? It’s accessible and people understood. They see themselves in the characters. They have an aunt or their dad is like that. Right? Our execution of it is so exaggerated and it’s like a cartoon. Our expressions are big. Our jokes or big and physical. It’s something that the other movies don’t do. It makes it a little bit more unique and it’s fun. We’re not trying to make you cry. We’re not trying to tell some big heavy story. There’s always a heart and emotion at its core. At the end of the day, it’s a beginning and an end and 150 jokes in between. Hopefully, if you could have five good laughs–it’s worth the money.

LRM: Tell us about the new characters. Also about Erica.

Genndy Tartakovsky: Erica is amazing. Olive Oil is one of my favorite female characters and she’s really funny. She’s larger than life. We wanted a Dracula’s love interest to not be like a quiet, demure type woman. We want her to be just as extreme, confident and bigger than life as Dracula. Right? Kathryn Hahn is that. She is equal to Adam Sandler if you just compare voices. We made this bad ass villain who ends up being good of course. She’s another cartoon character. All of her expressions and her movements are just as big as Dracula’s.

LRM: There’s another new character, isn’t it?

Genndy Tartakovsky: Yeah. Van Helsing, himself. You kind of saw him when he was young, but through the rest of the movie he’s actually old. It’s just his head inside this mechanical body. It’s very crazy looking. [Laughs] It’s really fun. He becomes this kind of really funny, really very quirky bad guy. Jim Gaffigan, who I was a fan of his stand up for a long time, I’ve always wanted him. I thought he had a very unique voice. I always wanted to do something with him. This seemed like the perfect vehicle for him.

LRM: Now I know you said the concept that the new movie based on your family cruise. You didn’t really have to do much research.

Genndy: Tartakovsky: Right.

LRM: What were the highlights that you were like, “This has to be in the movie.”

Genndy Tartakovsky: It’s the concept of it, right? Going on excursions, making stops, the confinement of the family together. The kids club, for sure, was one of the gags that we wanted to do. We had the hairy chest contest which didn’t make it at the end of the day.

LRM: Maybe in the clips at the end? [Laughs]

Genndy Tartakovsky: Maybe on the DVD. There wasn’t as many specifics, but we want it to get the feeling of everybody together. you know. So that was kind of the cruise, became that vehicle.

LRM: What would you say is your favorite monster?

Genndy Tartakovsky: I think I love Dracula. He’s the cartooniest probably out of everybody. He’s this very extreme, extreme character if it goes through the range of emotions. At the same time, he’s cool and he has great powers. He’s becoming a cartoon character. My goal is always like if I can come up with a Bugs Bunny type of success, then that would be amazing.

LRM: How did you come up with the scene from what we had a chance to view [during the presentation] of the monster Tinder app? Yeah. How did that come about? A lot of us can relate. [Laughs]

Genndy Tartakovsky: It’s definitely not my generation. I dated through normal phone calls, during pre-cell phones. I have friends who are single. That’s all they do. We could sit for an hour and they can go through how many people [swiping]. That felt very contemporary still. In this day and age, it was very obvious to do a joke like that, but for monsters. It was all about the Zing.

LRM: It was awesome.

Genndy Tartakovsky: Thank you.

LRM: How did you come up with that name?

Genndy Tartakovsky: Zinger? Well, it’s Tinder, Grindr, or any of the science things. Our love is Zing! So it seemed like a good match.

LRM: I loved it. That’s something that a lot of this generation can definitely relate to how clumsy we can be. [Laughs] Is there anything you can tell us that maybe coming up that you may be working on?

Genndy Tartakovsky: No. It’s going to be original, whatever it is. I’m going to try to push. I always try to push the medium to be something different. I want animation to be more than it is as my true love. I want to keep pushing it and do something new. I want to be like, “Wow! I haven’t seen that before.”

LRM: Thank you.

Genndy Tartakovsky: Thank you!

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation will be in theaters on July 13.

Source: LRM Online Exclusive