He Just Loves to Steal Cake!

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

AThe new an­i­mated spe­cial

fter pro­duc­ing The Gruf­falo, The Gruf­falo’s Child, Room on the Broom, Stick Man and Re­volt­ing Rhymes, Magic Light Pic­tures co-founders Michael Rose and Martin Pope have cer­tainly emerged as the go-to ex­perts in qual­ity an­i­mated chil­dren’s spe­cials. This month, they keep the tra­di­tion go­ing with a charm­ing adap­ta­tion of a book by Ju­lia Don­ald­son and Axel Sch­ef­fler called The High­way Rat. The CGan­i­mated spe­cial — which features the voices of David Ten­nant ( Doc­tor Who), Rob Bry­don, Tom Hol­lan­der, Nina Sosanya and Frances de le Tour — fol­lows the ad­ven­tures of a law­less ro­dent (voiced by Ten­nant) who en­joys steal­ing trav­el­ers’ pas­tries, pud­dings, choco­late and cake.

“Two years ago, right af­ter we fin­ished Stick Man, we were think­ing of other works that would make great an­i­mated spe­cials,” re­calls Rose. “We came across this great book by Don­ald­son and Sch­ef­fler, who also did the Gruf­falo books, Room on the Broom and Stick Man. I thought it sounded ter­rific be­cause it cen­tered on this swash­buck­ling rat who gets into ter­ri­ble trou­ble be­cause of his love of cake and ev­ery­thing sweet.”

Di­rec­tor Jeroen Jas­paert, who also worked with Rose on Stick Man, says the sur­real qual­ity of the premise ap­pealed to him im­me­di­ately. “You have this im­age of a small rat sit­ting on a horse, which is the cover art for the book,” says Jas­paert. “The no­tion of de­vel­op­ing this bad guy/rat that we love to hate on this jour­ney was very ex­cit­ing. It was quite dif­fer­ent from the Stick Man in our pre­vi­ous spe­cial.

Swash­buck­ler with Sweet Tooth: The High­way Rat features tac­tile CG an­i­ma­tion de­pict­ing an­i­mal char­ac­ters in metic­u­lously crafted cos­tumes.

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