A Thor­oughly Mod­ern Fairy Tale

Animation Magazine - - Features -

AThe di­rec­tors of the ac­claimed spe­cial dis­cuss the dif­fi­cult task of an­i­mat­ing Roald Dahl’s un­for­get­table book. By Ramin Za­hed

lthough fairy-tale char­ac­ters have been a fa­mil­iar sta­ple of an­i­mated TV shows and movies, we have never seen them quite as lively and mod­ern as the ones de­picted in Re­volt­ing Rhymes, a charm­ing, CG-an­i­mated, two-part TV movie which has been show­ered with nu­mer­ous awards since it first de­buted on the BBC in the U.K. last Christmas.

Di­rected by Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer, who also worked on the ac­claimed The Gruf­falo and the Os­car-nom­i­nated Room on the Broom, the short is based on a book by Roald Dahl, which has lots of fun with Lit­tle Red Rid­ing Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White and the Three Lit­tle Pigs. The project was pro­duced by Magic Light Pic­tures’ Martin Pope and Michael Rose, with an­i­ma­tion by Cape Town-based stu­dio Trig­ger­fish.

“When we be­gan throw­ing around ideas for an adap­ta­tion, we got very ex­cited by the no­tion of in­ter­twin­ing Dahl’s sep­a­rate tales — plac­ing them all in shared uni­verse, each story in­flu­enc­ing the other’s progress,” says Lachauer, “Weav­ing to­gether these sep­a­rate, rhymed sto­ries with­out adding ex­tra lines whilst (hope­fully) adding the en­joy­ment of the author’s wonderful tales be­came a mix­ture of higher math and imag­ined con­ver­sa­tions with old Roald Dahl.”

The team be­gan play­ing around with the story in mid-2014, and the project was green­lit in early 2015 and de­liv­ered last De­cem­ber. More than 80 peo­ple worked on the la­bor-in­ten­sive project, which had to be de­liv­ered in time for Dahl’s cen­ten­nial cel­e­bra­tion. “We were tasked with work­ing with a de­ci­sively lower price tag per minute than The Gruf­falo or Room on the

One of our big­gest chal­lenges for the an­i­ma­tion team was the scope of the world. “We have five main speak­ing roles, about 10 main an­thro­po­mor­phic char­ac­ters, and 40 over­all char­ac­ters,” notes Jas­paert. “These an­i­mals have bushy tails, but they are also wear­ing clothes. It’s also a road movie, so we travel from one place to an­other, so we have lots of sets. We ex­panded many of the book’s story el­e­ments. The Rat’s part­ner The High­way Rat will premiere on BBC One in the U.K. this Christmas.

Co-di­rec­tor Ja­cob Schuh

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