20th Century Fox has just concluded its 'EuropeanRobots Roadshow' to promote and showcase Chris Wedge's early 2005computer animated title Robots.
In London's Leicester Square VUE cinema on Fridaymorning (Nov 19), 20th Century Fox UK's managing director Simon Hewlettintroduced director Chris Wedge and art director Steve Martino who took apacked audience through the designs and storylines for the film as well asscreening approximately 20 minutes of completed and in-progress animation.
Set on a world populated entirely by robots, the animationis the story of a young genius, who wants to make robots capable of making theworld a better place, but finds his dream challenged by a corporate tyrant,while also being seduced by a sexy corporate robot.
Although Wedge admitted 'I left my notes inBarcelona' which threw him off track in his presentation 'at leastI understand the language here,' he joked. He described Robots' style as being based on real objects found in theanimator's garages and at junk yards. Lead character RodneyCopperbottom's design was apparently based on an old Evanrode outboardmotor.
The voice cast includes Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, JenniferCoolidge, Greg Kinnear, Mel Brooks and Robin Williams. Commenting on workingwith and controlling comedy actors like Brooks and Williams, Wedge joked,'Mel's getting on. It's easier to contain Mel. Robin'sa different story,' describing Williams method as being put in a roomwith three espressos, two Red Bulls and a couple of changes of t-shirt andbeing let go.
On a more serious note Wedge responded to a question aboutcomputer-generated animation successes raising the bar too high for otheranimators suggesting the novelty will be limited. 'The novelty'sgoing to wear off. Five to ten years from now this CG animation is going to beabout as original as a talkie and the films will just be judged on theirstories and own merits'.
Also, in what could be read as an inadvertent criticism ofthe practices of CG-animation rivals PDI/DreamWorks Animation, he dismissed theidea of animating character specifically to resemble the voice talent.'I'd like the character to be the guy you think about not thecomponents'.
Chris Wedge won an Academy Award in 1999 for best animatedshort film with Bunny. In 2002 hedirected Ice Age which grossed$383m worldwide and was nominated for that year's best animated featureOscar. Ice Age and Robotsare Blue Sky Studios productions.
Robots is released inNorth America on March 11, 2005 and the UK, amongst multiple otherinternational territories, a week later. Other computer-animated titles to comein 2005 include DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar on May 27 in North America for the Memorial andPixar/Buena Vista's Cars,directed by John Lasseter, on Nov 4. Blue Sky's next project,Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, is currentlyscheduled in North America for March 31, 2006.