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'Aqua Teen' Looks to Conquer Big Screen

By Rick Porter

Monday, March 07, 2005

11:57 AM PT

How do you turn a series of shorts about anthropomorphic fast food into a feature film?

The world may find out, possibly sometime in 2006. An "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" movie will be ready for release by then, say Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis, the show's creators.

"We wrote and recorded it last year, and it should be done by December," Maiellaro said Friday (March 4) at the Museum of Television & Radio's annual Paley Television Festival, prompting several "whoos" from the crowd of Adult Swim fans.

Maiellaro and Willis were on the panel with two other creative teams from Cartoon Network's freewheeling late-night lineup, Tim Heidecker and Matt Wareheim of "Tom Goes to the Mayor" and Matt Senreich and Seth Green of "Robot Chicken."

Willis and Maiellaro didn't want to reveal too much about the "Aqua Teen" movie, but they did offer up a couple of tidbits. For one, it will feature 1980s funk outfit Cameo, of "Word Up" and "Shake Your Pants" fame. As for the plot, "It's an action piece that leads into an origin story that unfolds in a very 'Aqua Teen' way," Maiellaro says.

Willis and Maiellaro, who formerly worked on "Space Ghost Coast to Coast," also talked about the origins of the show. They first came into being as the mascots for a fast-food place where Space Ghost buys a huge amount of food. But because "he has no idea what money is," Willis says, he's forced to bring the mascots onto his show. The characters who would become Frylock, Master Shake and Meatwad then take over the show.

Cartoon Network initially rejected the idea, but Maiellaro and Willis took the characters into their own world, and the rest is Adult Swim history. They eventually finished the "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" episode as well, and it aired in 2003.

Willis and Maiellaro aren't sure yet when or how their movie will be distributed, but given their corporate parents, they're not worried.

"You would think at Time Warner, someone's got to know how to release a movie," Willis says.