Aardman Animations, the iconic British studio behind Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, has announced its first project for Netflix. Here’s what we know about the project right now:
- Robin Robin will be a holiday special, and Aardman’s first musical. The official synopsis: “When her egg fortuitously rolls into a rubbish dump, Robin is raised by a loving family of mice. As she grows up, her differences become more apparent. Robin sets off on the heist to end all heists to prove to her family that she can be a really good mouse — but ends up discovering who she really is.”
- The 30-minute film will be ready “in time for the holidays in 2020.” Executive producer Sarah Cox described it to the Guardian as “a multimillion-pound” stop-motion production. Although the film is being made at Aardman’s studio in Bristol, the creator-directors are Aardman newcomers Mikey Please and Daniel Ojari.
Please (The Eagleman Stag) and Ojari (Slow Derek) are acclaimed stop-motion animators. They made their names with their respective award-winning shorts before founding Parabella Animation Studio in London. In a break with Aardman’s signature clay animation, they will use a range of natural materials, like twigs and felt, to create Robin Robin’s cast of woodland animals. They co-wrote the screenplay with Sam Morrison.
- “When Dan and Mikey first pitched us the concept for Robin Robin we knew instantly that this was a rare and special project that we had to make together” said Cox in a statement. “It’s a beautifully crafted stop-frame musical that immediately feels classic whilst being groundbreaking and modern.”
- Aardman is at a transitional stage in its 43-year history. Last year, its founders David Sproxton and Peter Lord transferred 75% of the company’s shares to its employees, making it one of the largest animation studios in the world majority-owned by its workforce. Sproxton subsequently stepped down as managing director, and was replaced this month by Sean Clarke.
- Historically, Aardman has been closely associated with British broadcasters, particularly the BBC. Clarke told the Guardian that the studio intends to work with the BBC again, but said, “Netflix has the ability to buy for the whole world rather than just the UK… The BBC would have loved to have taken Robin Robin. But they weren’t in a position to afford it.” He added that Netflix “are a good partner… They respect a filmmaker’s vision.”
- Alexi Wheeler, manager of kids and family international originals at Netflix, said: “Together with Aardman, we’re thrilled to celebrate and introduce new generations of families around the world to the craft of stop-motion animation through Robin Robin, a magical tale that warms the heart and can be enjoyed by the whole family.”