(Written for BritScene)
A brilliant new featurette for Aardman Animations’ family adventure The Pirates! Band Of Misfits has been released this week, including commentary from writer Gideon Defoe, British actors Hugh Grant and David Tennant, and producer Julie Lockhart about how the film was created and just how long it took to make this beautifully crafted 3D stop-motion animation.
Based on the first two of Defoe’s The Pirates! novels, The Pirates! in an Adventure With Scientists and The Pirates! in an Adventure With Whaling, The Pirates! Band Of Misfits is produced by Aardman Animations (Wallace and Gromit) who have teamed up with Sony Pictures Animation (Arthur Christmas).
Directed by Peter Lord with co-director Jeff Newitt, the film follows The Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant) who is on an adventure to beat his rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven – TV’s Entourage) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek – Puss in Boots) in the Pirate of the Year Award, where along the way he must battle Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton – Arthur Christmas) and meet a young Charles Darwin (David Tennant – The Decoy Bride).
The featurette, which can be seen below, discusses the size of the project with writer Defoe, producer Lockhart, animation supervisor Loyd Price, and senior lighting cameraman David Alex Riddett. The biggest surprise comes from the fact that whilst the team were working on 40 scenes per day, this only produced 1 to 4 seconds worth of footage per camera a week, and overall the film took a year and a half to film.
The clip also gives commentary from British actors Grant and Tennant as they discuss what attracted them to their roles. Grant comments that it’s, “Classically funny, original and strange”, whilst Tenant believes that the stars of this movie are in fact the producers, not the actors, because of the amazing things that they can do. And it really is magnificent how they do it.
Also starring Brian Blessed, Brendan Gleeson (The Guard), Martin Freeman (TV’s Sherlock), Ashley Jensen (Gnomeo & Juliet), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (The Thing), and Russell Tovey (TV’s UK Being Human), The Pirates! Band Of Misfits is set to be released in the US on 30th March.