The Inventor | Why Pixar vet Jim Capobianco couldn’t get funding for his animated film in Italy

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In the new issue of the Film Stories magazine, we spoke to The Inventor director Jim Capobianco. Here’s a little taster of that chat.

Delightful and eccentric stop-motion movie The Inventor is the first feature film from Jim Capobianco, the director of Pixar’s Ratatouille short, Your Friend The Rat.

I recently had the pleasure to speak with him at length for Film Stories magazine – order your copy now, go on, why don’t you. The interview was so lengthy, in fact, that lots of interesting bits were left on the cutting room floor.

What follows are two short sections that might be of particular interest. Here, not only does Jim explain why he found it hard to get Italian producers to back his film about the great Italian Leonardo da Vinci, but he also answers my questions about casting Stephen Fry, Matt Berry and Daisy Ridley in light of the familiar American movie trope which sees European characters of all nationalities played by English-speaking British actors, usually with English accents…

“I guess that from an American point of view, English feels European. It’s a default to have them speak in English so we can understand them, and we’re making them sound European by having them not have American accents.

We have the king speaking with a French accent and his sister with an English accent so in the film, the way it works now, I think the French accent feels old school European and the characters speaking in an English accent feel more modern.

We had an Italian producer for a while, but we could never get traction in Italy. I think it’s because the Italians don’t really want to think that Leonardo left Italy for France. They just don’t want to talk about that, they say, ‘Let’s talk about his time in Italy.’ Which was the bulk of his life, that’s cool. But he belongs to the world…. he brought these three paintings [The Mona Lisa, the Saint Anne and the Saint John the Baptist] to France and they’re now in the Louvre.

The Italians hold on to him very preciously, as they should, but he’s really one of the great leaders of art for the whole world.

Thanks again to Jim for taking the time to talk to me about The Inventor. There’s lots more in the magazine – everything from fascinating details of the design language of the film to the surprising ways in which Cartoon Saloon were involved. Animators, artists and illustrators especially will find his insights really interesting and instructive.

UK audiences will finally get to see The Inventor from March. It comes recommended really highly by me.

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