Nick Park has created another stop-motion masterpiece. We go behind the scenes with stars Eddie Redmayne and Tom Hiddleston, and ask Park what’s next for Wallace and Gromit
Deep in the bowels of Bristol’s Aztec West studios, Aardman Animations animator Grant Maisey is exhibiting the fruits of a day’s labour. “This is where I’ve got to at the moment,” he says, pressing play on his desktop. A clip shows a small claymation figure striking a gong. It lasts about three or four seconds. “… aaaand that’s a day’s work.” In total, the scene Maisey is filming contains 340 frames – about 14 seconds’ worth – “so that should take me another two days”, he says surprisingly cheerfully.
Such is the lot for an employee at Aardman, a studio seemingly founded to redefine the word “painstaking”. This is the studio, after all, who willingly – or perhaps wilfully – continue to make their films through that most time-sensitive of processes, stop-motion animation, laboriously bringing their creations to life frame-by-frame. Not only that, against all the odds, they have managed to thrive while doing so; Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run and Pirates! are all stop-motion films that have grossed hundreds of millions at the box office, while being hailed by critics and fans. On only a couple of occasions have they succumbed to CGI’s siren song – most notably with the Dreamworks co-production Flushed Away, surely not coincidentally a rare flop for Aardman – but their most recent efforts have returned to the medium that made their name.