As the winner of four Academy Awards and five BAFTA Awards for his work as the writer, director, and animator on the likes of “Creature Comforts,” “Chicken Run” and “Wallace & Gromit,” it’s safe to say that Nick Park has conquered the world of stop-motion animation.
Because of the huge success of these films, I have always wondered whether Park has considered changing cinematic speeds and moving into live-action.
I recently had the chance to talk to the 59-year-old over the phone about his career and his latest film “Early Man,” which revolves around a soccer match between the Bronze and Stone Age.
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During our discussion I asked that very question to Park, and he admitted, “I have often wondered what it would be like.”
“It’s one of those things, like CGI as well. It’s just that so many people are so good at it, in a way I feel like clay animation has been a great channel for what I want to say and my own humor.”
“And to go another way wouldn’t quite suit it as well. A humor comes out of the clay itself, especially because you have chosen to do it in this stone-age way.”
Clearly Park has an affinity and feels at one with both his clay models and stop-motion.
Deeper into our chat I then asked my fellow Lancastrian how much this process has changed over the last 36 years, as he started to create his first ever short film, “Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out,” back in 1982 when he was at England’s National Film And Television School.
“The process is pretty much the same,” Park insisted. “You spend ages on the script, and staring at cards on the wall, and storyboarding and filming it all.”
“But in a feature film creating the right story is the biggest challenge. Keeping it compelling, and making sure it has the right structure that keeps it buoyant and pays off at the ending of it.”
“You have to get that going in the short films, but it is somehow less. In a way you can be a bit more hoofing of the movies, because you’re not really a movie. But when you are a movie you have to deal with genuine emotions.”
You can check out “Early Man,” Nick Park’s latest foray into stop-motion animation, now, as it has just been released into cinemas.