Ex-Pixar animator goes stop motion for new movie with Daisy Ridley and Stephen Fry

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A new stop motion film is being independently put together – and it’s looking like a fascinating project too: more details here.

In his time at Pixar, Jim Capobianco contributed to several of its movies. Perhaps the one he’s most closely associated with is Ratatouille, with his Oscar-nominated work on the script dating back to the project’s early days, before Brad Bird took up the directing reins. Capobianco also wrote and directed Your Friend The Rat, a sweet little quasi-documentary spin-off from the feature which bagged him the Annie Award for best short.

Outside of his Pixar work, Capobianco debuted a hand-drawn animated short called Leonardo back in 2010, based upon the life of Da Vinci. Now, ten years later, he’s working to expand the concept into The Inventor, a feature film that will combine hand-drawn animation with stop motion.

Stephen Fry is onboard to voice Da Vinci, and Daisy Ridley will lend her pipes to Princess Marguerite of France. I’m no historian, but I can just about skim a few facts from Wikipedia, and it says there that Marguerite de Navarre is the Princess who was hosting Da Vinci in the last few years of his life.

The project is currently the subject of a Kickstarter which was set up to raise funds for an animatic. That has now crossed the line with a couple of days (at time of writing) to go. It seems like a good way to support the film in return for, at the very least, a download of the finished film, but the higher-tier rewards are attractive for animation buffs: extra documents, masterclasses, insight and access to the making of the film.

More immediately, anybody curious about what Capobianco and co. are cooking up might want to book into the virtual panel concerning the film at this year’s Manchester Animation Festival. That’s scheduled for November, so it’s a way off, but booking is open now and it’s especially nice to having something to look forward to, don’t you think?

And if you want more right now, as well as the clips and info on the Kickstarter, there’s the Aerial Contrivance Workshop channel on Vimeo. That includes animation from the original short, recording clips, storyboards… all the good stuff. We especially like this little Earth Day snippet.

Leo March 4 Science 04/22/17 from Aerial Contrivance Workshop on Vimeo.

We’re very curious about The Inventor – Leonardo is a peerlessly fascinating human, Capobianco is a fine animator, and there’s a likeable cast. With a bit of luck this picture could be something truly special – and it’s already notable that a film of this scale, and in the media of hand-drawn and stop-motion animation, is being produced genuinely independently. Good luck, guys. We can’t wait to see more.


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