Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Wallace And Gromit 'failed in US'

Nick Park doesn't think US movie bosses appreciated the humour in Wallace And Gromit
Nick Park doesn't think US movie bosses appreciated the humour in Wallace And Gromit

Wallace And Gromit creator Nick Park has revealed how the British sense of humour failed to tickle US movie bosses after his company joined forces with Hollywood studio DreamWorks.

Bristol-based company Aardman, whose creations include Shaun The Sheep, Creature Comforts and Wallace And Gromit, teamed up with DreamWorks in 1999 in a five-movie deal.

But they parted company in 2007 after making just three of the five films - Chicken Run (2000), Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit (2005) and Flushed Away (2006).

While denying there was a schism with DreamWorks, whose computer-animated films include Shrek and Madagascar, Park told the Radio Times that there were cultural disparities.

The Oscar-winning filmmaker said: "There is a language barrier that often happens with humour. Wallace And Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit was going to be called The Great Vegetable Plot, but market research didn't like it.

"The verdict was that 'vegetables are a negative with kids', but of course that's why it's good, and works. It's elevating vegetables. That's how Wallace And Gromit works. It was elevating the uncool and mundane to something big in Hollywood. That's the irony."

Aardman's creative director Merlin Crossingham added: "Then there was the line 'Slow down... you'll buckle my trunnions'. They didn't get it. They said, 'What's a trunnion?' Who cares? It's something funny. I don't know what it is. If it sounds good, we're happy to go with it."

In 2007, the parting was announced with the explanation that the two studios had "different business goals". Aardman's spokesman Arthur Sheriff cited "DreamWorks' move to focus on computer animation" as the cause of the separation.

:: There is a free Wallace And Gromit poster in every Radio Times this week.

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