Rhys Frake-Waterfield is uncompromising in his vision for a murderous Pooh and Piglet in his slasher, as he has not shied away from having them brutally murder and cannibalize their beloved friend, Eeyore. In “Blood and Honey,” these creatures are driven by a rabid sense of retribution, which has led them to hunt down and devour anyone who crosses their path. The problem with Frake-Waterfield’s first draft was not that it was too gory, as the writer-director gladly wishes to push the envelope when it comes to creating a grisly, ruthless world for his film.
Instead, the issue was that he had to be extremely careful about the iterations of the characters he could draw inspiration from, as the ones under the Walt Disney trademark would have immediately led to copyright infringement. In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Frake-Waterfield explained this issue in greater detail:
“It was unfilmable. […] I had to literally trash that script and start anew. […] I had to be really careful about what I was drawing inspiration from. Only the 1926 version is in the public domain, so those were the only elements I could incorporate. Other parts like Poohsticks, and Tigger, and Pooh’s red shirt — those aren’t elements I can use at the moment because they’re the copyright of Disney and that would get me in a lot of trouble. The first script had a lot of those elements in it, and those elements would have really encroached onto Disney branding and IP.”
Frake-Waterfield is referring to Milne’s 1926 “Winnie-the-Pooh” novel, which was the only source he could incorporate elements from. Everything else, especially material from Disney-made animated films and television shows, was strictly off-limits, including the popularized images of Pooh wearing a red T-shirt or Piglet’s cutesy all-pink attire.