After sending Tintin to Hollywood and building a private museum in memory of his creator, Hergé, the couple overseeing the boy hero’s legacy are now plotting their next move.
“Our work is to educate and inform people,” says Nick Rodwell, who married Hergé’s widow Fanny Vlamynck around a decade ago.
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“We’re creating a Tintin brand that lies somewhere between graphic novel and contemporary art. If I die tomorrow, I will know the work has found its right place,” added Rodwell during an interview inside the Louvain-la-Neuve Museum, Belgium.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc and opened in the university town of Louvain-la-Neuve, some 20 km (12 miles) outside Brussels, the museum sees some 80,000 visitors a year.
The museum is largely dedicated to Hergé’s artistic skill. As Tintin’s fame spreads, Hergé’s original drawings are selling like hotcakes at auctions, a double-page ink by the Belgian artist from 1937 going for 2.1 million euros in Paris last month. But with the museum housing a mere 10% of their legacy, the couple is hoping to organise temporary shows elsewhere, notably at the Cheverny Castle in France’s Loire valley that inspired the Moulinsart castle in the original work.
The fame of the intrepid boy reporter with the quiff spread in Europe, when film-maker Steven Spielberg rolled a Hollywood blockbuster in 2011.
It was “gigantic, the best promotion possible” for Tintin, Rodwell said, though only a tepid success in Hollywood terms, ringing up 374 million dollars in contrast with a target of 600 million. Should he fail to release a new Tintin movie within five or seven years of the last one, “we will recover the rights.”