‘Zsazsa Zaturnnah’ is getting an animated version and here’s what we know so far

Published November 23, 2020, 1:49 PM

by John Legaspi

Watch its second teaser here

From battling a giant frog and taking down the undead, to fighting extraterrestrial fashionistas, Zsazsa Zaturnnah’s adventures have soared beyond the pages of Carlo Vergara’s comics. Her emancipation has been a game changer in terms of gender representation and stereotypes, making her story the subject of academic studies relating to the LGBTQ+ community, and featured in essays and other literature. Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah became a part of Philippine modern pop culture, that it has been adapted onstage and on film. This time, the superheroine’s story will be retold through the technicolor world of film animation. 

Rocketsheep Studio, the animation studio behind movies Saving Sally and Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story, is recreating Ada and Zsazsa’s triumphs and misadventures for a whole new laugh and a toast to the Philippine animation scene. Manila Bulletin Lifestyle chats with Rocketsheep Studio’s Avid Liongoren to know more what goes behind the storyboards and what should we expect from the studio’s latest project.

Why adapt the comic to an animated film? What initiated it? 

Because I have loved the komik since it came out in the early 2000s. It is something I always gave to people who are not familiar with Pinoy Komiks. It’s hilarious, smart, and novel. The core concept of “a shy gay man swallows a magic rock that transforms into a flamboyant female superhero” is just begging to be animated.  

As a studio, Rocketsheep aims to keep creating animated films in hopes that more Filipino studios join us. The Philippines has a huge animation industry but it is mostly geared towards outsource work (like BPOs but for art), we hope to have more local productions to have more opportunities for Filipino animation workers. Hopefully, someday we in the Philippines get known not just as outsource workers, but as creators, too.

Who are the people leading the animation? 

Our studio Rocketsheep has partnered with Frank Priot, a French producer.

How is the studio remaining faithful to original material? 

Very very faithful, as Carlo Vergara, Zsazsa’s awesome creator, wrote the screenplay.

When and where do you plan to release it? Is the movie going to feature voices of local artistas

It will take three years to complete the film, it will be in English primarily for the international release with a Filipino dub. The official voice cast will be tackled down the road. For now, we recorded our guide with a group of superbly talented theater people.

The animation art is different with Carlo’s comic book illustrations. What did the studio consider in drawing the characters this time? 

We just want Zsazsa not to look like your typical female superhero, and the rest of the designs followed her lead.

What do you think it is with Zsazsa that Filipinos love that makes her a pop culture icon? 

Zsazsa is funny and relatable. While not everyone gets to swallow a magic rock and fight a giant frog, everyone knows how it is to be so unsure with life and love.

Watch the teasers here: