Chris Re­naud

Animation Magazine - - Awards Preview -

Di­rec­tor, De­spi­ca­ble Me 2 Key mo­ment of in­spi­ra­tion: The first movie was re­ally about ca­reer vs. fam­ily. In the sec­ond film, I think we wanted to take a sec­ond look at those two as­pects of Gru’s life. We dis­cussed Gru hav­ing a love in­ter­est very early on and how that could be­come an ex­ten­sion of this non­tra­di­tional fam­ily unit. Also, we made the choice that Gru had to work for the good guys, much like the re­pro­grammed Ter­mi­na­tor in T2, in this new ad­ven­ture. Those two ideas be­came the main in­spi­ra­tion for our story. Tough­est chal­lenge in mak­ing the movie: With a se­quel, the tough­est part is al­ways how to make the char­ac­ters and the world they in­habit feel fresh and worth re­vis­it­ing. We wanted to find new ideas that built on the suc­cess of the first film. Even the Min­ions needed a new take, so now we have pur­ple evil min­ions who are even dum­ber than the orig­i­nals! Fave an­i­mated movie or char­ac­ter: That’s a hard ques­tion be­cause, like many film­mak­ers, I love so many dif­fer­ent films and char­ac­ters. How­ever, if I have to choose, I’ll prob­a­bly have to go with the orig­i­nal Toy Story. It truly is a mas­ter­work and, in my mind, still stands as prob­a­bly the best CG an­i­mated movie to date. Ob­vi­ously the tech­nol­ogy has changed and im­proved (Andy’s kid sis­ter is pretty scary) but it’s still hard to beat such solid char­ac­ters and story plot­ting. On the state of the busi­ness: While it has def­i­nitely be­come crowded at the mul­ti­plex with an­i­mated fea­tures, it’s still an ex­cit­ing place to be as a film­maker. I think you may see a ma­tur­ing of the mar­ket­place re­gard­ing what kind of an­i­mated movies get made. If stu­dios, film­mak­ers and pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies can find ways to lower their bud­gets and, by ex­ten­sion, their ex­pec­ta­tions, you might see a wider range of ideas be­ing pro­duced. Ad­vanc­ing tech­nol­ogy and a larger global tal­ent pool could help make that the stan­dard way to op­er­ate. Ca­reer be­gin­nings: I started as a comic-book artist, but my start in an­i­ma­tion re­ally came through a chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion pro­gram called The Book of Pooh. It was a dig­i­tally ren­dered en­vi­ron­ment that looked like a Win­nie the Pooh pop-up sto­ry­book. The char­ac­ters were brought to life through tra­di­tional Ja­panese bun­raku pup­petry per­formed over a green-screen. It wasn’t truly char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion, but it did in­tro­duce me to the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the dig­i­tal world. Best ad­vice: I’m not sure if this is ex­actly film­mak­ing ad­vice, but I used to work with a char­ac­ter de­signer for Jim Henson named Paul An­drejco who showed me the value of try­ing some­thing un­ex­pected as a way to make his char­ac­ter de­signs dis­tinct and mem­o­rable. Pierre Cof­fin, my di­rect­ing part­ner for both De­spi­ca­ble Me movies, strives to find a sur­prise in the an­i­mated per­for­mance of our char­ac­ters as well. Find­ing and un­lock­ing those un­ex­pected turns or ideas along the way can re­ally make the dif­fer­ence be­tween a good movie and a great one.

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