Right now, Andy Serkis is up to monkey business on the set of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, putting on the proverbial ping pong balls for another turn as Caesar, our future chimpanezee emperor. In the background, though, he’s also working with his own performance capture studio, The Imaginarium, in preparing a new film version of Animal Farm.
There’s an interesting statement on The Imaginarium’s official site. Serkis explains that they’re planning some new advances on capture techniques for the film, promising:
a rather fresh way of looking at the story using an amalgamation of filming styles, including performance capture. It is a wide canvas on which we are exploring how far we can take performance capture with quadrupeds. We are exploring new avenues of performance including puppeteering parts of animals; it’s terribly exciting.
You’ll also see a small piece of concept art on that page. Here’s that, alongside a much higher quality version of part of the first image.
And that, I think, is our first hint of the look they’re going for.
I tracked the image’s source down to – or at least found another copy at – the site of Embankment Films. According to them, Serkis will start full pre-production on the film this September then deliver it next September. The screenplay has been written by Edward Scissorhands’ and The Nightmare Before Christmas‘ Caroline Thompson.
The Imaginarium are also working on The Bone Season, adapted from the upcoming debut novel by my near-neighbour Samantha Shannon. She appeared at our local bookshop on Tuesday night to speak about her novel, and unfortunately I couldn’t be there. I wonder if she had anything to say about the film…?
Finally, here’s Andy Serkis’ big ol’ directors statement on Animal Farm. It’s an interesting take… with no mention of communism anywhere.
We will tell Orwellʼs classic tale as a vibrant engaging story for 21st Century families. Just imagine Orwell writing today… seeing the entire story from the point of view of an adorable knee-high piglet…
A rite of passage for this once naïve, baby-face piglet Lucky, son of Napoleon, as he witnesses the rise and fallof a dream: a perfect existence without human beings. A modern commentary of the perils of corporate greed, but with all the innocence, joy and sensitivity of a fairy-tale.
Just great fun, anarchic, contemporary, quick-witted and very funny … but also fearful, whereby jeopardy is in the unseen implied violence; raucous, thrilling with big set pieces; but also subtle – with incisive subversion and satire; heartbreakingly honest, accepting of sadness and emotionally ebullient