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Richard Williams Reveals Details About His Secret Animated Film

On Friday, the Guardian published a long profile of Richard Williams. It’s an inspiring read even if you’re familiar with the man.

Among the newsworthy tidbits is that Williams has in the recent past animated some of Banksy’s graffiti for a medical conference. The most intriguing revelations for Williams admirers though are reserved for the last paragraph of the article, in which Williams discusses his long-term secret animation project. The recently-turned-80 Williams has puckishly subtitled the project, Will I live to finish it. From the article:

He is reluctant to say too much about what “the big film” is about – “we had so much publicity about The Thief and then it went wrong” – but says it is being made in chapters – “so if I do drop dead we will still have something” – and that a six minute prologue, which will be a short film in its own right, will soon be ready. “What I’m interested in is that nobody has been able to handle realism. It’s just been embarrassing. So I’m doing graphic realism, these things are obviously drawings, but it will go into adult territory and will combine different styles. I want something that will be grim, but also funny and salacious and sexy. I can’t tell you how excited I am by it. No one has been able to do this and I know that I can. All I need is some time and five or six assistants who can draw like hell.”

  • Now THAT is something I would like to work on. I heard Richard Williams had a temper, but maybe age has softened him up a bit.

  • Five or six assistants? Where do I apply?

  • Connor Sims

    “I’m gonna animate a movie

    -Richard Williams

    God this man is such a boss

  • I’d love to see him finish this project. Best of luck!

  • MRKid

    He’s got the pick of the litter with all these amazing 2d animators getting laid off. For God’s sake, somebody help this man finish his film(s)!!!

    • Matthew Koh

      Yeah, somebody who can actually draw his/her ass! (get the hint?)

      • MRKid

        Unfortunately, neither Milt nor Marc are available! ;-)

  • Let’s give him a kickstarter so he won’t have to sell it out!!!!

  • Natalie Belton

    Richard Williams: the man who will never give up animating.

  • Gavin Mouldey

    The anticipation I felt as a kid for his Thief project left me determined to be an animator. So I became an illustrator, but maybe this new project will turn me back to animation. The child me is wetting himself, and giving the adult me an enthusiastic kick in the spine. Can’t wait.

  • martin

    awesome! kinda sounds like a satoshi kon film and “mind game” put together.

  • Toonio

    Maybe Dick will bring masters like Glenn Keane onto his project, like he did with Grim Natwick.

    • Aaron

      Look closely at Keane’s animation and rethink your comment.

  • Can anyone elaborate on what general direction/style is implied when he says “realism”? Can it be classified as simply and superficially as a style or direction? It seems that word can be interpreted a dozen ways and I’m curious what he means when he says “nobody has been able to handle it” and would love to hear the thoughts of someone who’s worked with him to elaborate and enlighten on what exactly he means when he say “realism”.

  • Ccs

    “What I’m interested in is that nobody has been able to handle realism. It’s just been embarrassing.”
    Hiroyuki Okiura and everyone who has worked on his films would like to have a word with you…

  • TStevens

    Williams has more experience teasing the animation community than he actually has getting his projects off of the ground. Everything I have ever heard indicates that he is so connected to the animation that he is unable to look at the story in a large context. There were rumors floating around for years that he was avoiding storyboarding on the Thief until he had to show the rough cut to the producers. It was only then that they say he broke down and completed boards for animatic purposes.

    I suspect when he talks of realism he might be thinking of something like what he started back on A Christmas Carole in the 70s or, maybe some of his commercial work like the Jovan Musk commercial which was posted here a while back.

    If anyone thinks that working for Williams would be a glory job, talk to folks who have worked for him and see what they have to say… As for animators like Keane working for Williams, I doubt it. Deja, Goldberg and Baxter might be ones who would consider working for Williams because they all had gigs working for him in the seventies and eighties. However, they also know his temperment.