Filmmakers Kirk Hendry and Neil Boyle have revealed pre-production concept paintings for their upcoming animated feature Kensuke’s Kingdom. The images were provided exclusively to Cartoon Brew.
Based on the bestselling novel by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo and adapted for the screen by screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce (Millions, Hilary and Jackie, 24 Hour Party People), Kensuke’s Kingdom is about a ten-year-old boy who washes up on a tropical island, where he discovers he is an intruder in the domain of a mysterious Japanese soldier named Kensuke.
The action/adventure film is being developed by producers Sarah Radclyffe and Barnaby Spurrier.
Hendry and Boyle will use a combination of 2D and 3D animation techniques. The duo have recently participated, as art director and lead animator respectively, in major collaborations with Triplets of Belleville director Sylvain Chomet: a music video for Belgian pop star Stromae and a 2014 Simpsons opening.
The production paintings were developed in collaboration with the visual development team at Framestore, who have previously worked on Paddington, Gravity, and Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Morpugo’s War Horse. The team was headed by Kevin Jenkins, who is currently an art director on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“Neil and I did some simple sketches of the scenes we wanted to portray, with some basic blocking, suggestions for time of day, etc, for lighting ideas, and let Framestore’s visual development team run with it,” Hendry told Cartoon Brew via email.
“Framestore have some of the best people in the world for visual development,” said Boyle. “Although we are currently developing the final look of Kensuke’s Kingdom using a box of tricks including hand-drawn characters, miniature landscapes, matte painting, and CG environment effects to tie it all together, the concept paintings give us, the whole production team, and potential financiers a really good taste of the sense of scale, adventure, fun and drama we want to achieve bringing this much-loved book to the big screen.”
Hendry and Boyle are currently creating a fully animated test sequence, with production on the film expected to begin in early 2016.