Later this week Gorillaz, the cartoon pop band created by Blur stalwart Damon Albarn and “Tank Girl” cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, will release their eighth studio album, “Cracker Island.” The album is already receiving rave reviews (Rolling Stones called it the band’s “most purely pleasurable LP yet”) but, sadly, another Gorillaz project is no more.
Albarn, talking to Belgian publication HUMO (via Stereogum), said the Gorillaz movie that was being worked on with Netflix is no longer happening: “The new record came about because Jamie and I were often in Los Angeles. We were working on a Gorillaz feature film, which will never happen.”
When the publication asked if the movie was “permanently suspended,” Albarn confirmed that, yes, it was dead. “That is to say, and without naming names because the whole matter has not yet been settled: the streaming platform for which we were making the film has withdrawn. They started to panic because they were making too much content and decided to cut back on their movie offerings,” Albarn explained. “And, as has been classic Hollywood practice for decades, the guy we were working with has moved on to another company. From then on you have lost your guardian angel, and there seems to be a bad smell hanging on you. Hollywood is quite territorial: if a new guy comes along, he must and will have a different opinion, even if he secretly agrees with his predecessor.”
A source close to the project revealed that the Gorillaz project never emerged from the script development phase, so Albarn’s assertion that it was ‘canceled’ isn’t exactly true. In fact, it was never in production and never officially announced by Netflix either.
Our guess is that the movie was probably shepherded by Mike Moon, who oversaw adult animation for Netflix. (Gorillaz isn’t an inherently “adult” concept, but it was certainly more outside-the-box than some of the all-ages material the streamer produces.) There were earlier reports that “Maya and the Three” filmmaker Jorge R. Gutierrez and “Gravity Falls” creator Alex Hirsch, who was a collaborator of Moon’s and has an adult animation project in development at Netflix, had been helping out on the movie. Last summer Moon left Netflix to set up his own subsidiary of Illumination at Universal, which left Netflix’s adult animation output adrift.
Is it possible that a Gorillaz movie will finally see the light of day? There have been so many attempts at a movie and so many setbacks, which is insane given what a no-brainer the concept is. Maybe one day (thank God cartoon characters don’t age).