The Sea Beast Director On The Increasingly Blurry Line Between Live-Action And Animation [Exclusive Interview]
But I love this, because this is how my brain works.
So, why animation? Well, I think that’s a question that is valid, and it used to be something that we really would ask ourselves even before taking step one. I was at Disney for 25 years and we’d say, “Is this an animated movie, or would this be better as a live-action movie?” We had to answer the question, “Yes, this lends itself to animation,” before we’d even take that first step. But man, it is getting really blurry, that line, because as animation ventures out into different genres and different tones, it’s getting harder to get your head around what animation ought to be.
At the same time, live-action is using so much animation in ways that are invisible oftentimes to the point where you’re like, “Well, what is ‘Avatar’ again? What am I looking at here?” Or any Marvel movie uses so much animation. And then you’ve got a movie like “Marcel the Shell” and you’re like, “Well, what is this?” At a certain point, maybe the question is getting less important, because I think some of the filmmakers are asking really valid questions of, “If you don’t want to categorize this as animation, how would you categorize us? What are we?” And to me, that’s exciting to think that it’s just opening up new frontiers.
So, I didn’t get too caught up in that question from the beginning. We knew that we wanted to tell a story that had these big monsters, where the scale was going to be a big part of the experience of watching the movie, that we’re going to have very large things and very small beings, and they were going to fight, but they were also going to have relationships and connect. So that started to govern a little bit of decisions about production design and the look and the feel of the world.
We knew that we didn’t want it to be too broad, even though I love “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” and I love really comedic, fun movies that have a more broad look and acting style. We knew that wasn’t going to be right for us because we really wanted to feel the scale and feel the stakes and feel the peril and communicate to the audience, “This is a world where the danger is real and people can die in this world.” So that had a bearing on the look, but it never deterred me from thinking that this could work in animation.