Bill Desowitz asks David Bowers and Sam Fell what it was like their first time out as feature directors on Flushed Away.
David Bowers and Sam Fell were the perfect pair to direct Flushed Away. The U.K. natives are both steeped in the Aardman culture. Bowers has been shuttling back and forth between DreamWorks and Aardman, working as a storyboard artist on Chicken Little and Wallace & Gromit, while contributing as a story artist on Shark Tale. Prior to that he was a story artist on The Prince of Egypt and The Road to El Dorado. He began as an in-betweener under director Richard Williams on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and later worked on Danger Mouse, Duckula, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and Balto. Fell directed a short for Channel 4 titled The Big Cheese, which led to his becoming a freelance animator at Aardman and working as a key animator on Wats Pig. He then directed numerous commercials and shorts, combining stop motion and CG technology.
Bill Desowitz: What was it like directing your first feature?
Sam Fell: Obviously the big difference is the length of the whole thing and sustaining an audiences attention. Thats the downside. But the plus side is its so wonderful with all that screen time to do fun things, and to explore a character like Roddy. Set him up and have him change and encounter things. Its wonderful to create such a large world were always creating little worlds for commercials and shorts. You spend a lot of time creating that world and its gone in an instant. Whereas creating a world in Flushed Away, is such a huge canvas and you can really let that vision live and breathe.
David Bowers: Well, for me, directing for the first time has been very pleasant. Ive worked on an awful lot of features and Ive always aspired to be a director rather than a story artist. Ive always kept my eye on how a storys been progressing. I suppose for me it was sort of like putting my money where my mouth is, to actually work a story of a whole movie and make the kind of film that Id love to see.
BD: Did you know each other before?
SF: Yeah, well, we were both around Aardman on Chicken Little.
DB: I was on Chicken Little and working on Wallace & Gromit and other stuff and Sam had just started doing early development on Flushed Away. And we met in a pub after a big meeting at in London at DreamWorks and got on rather well.
SF: We both have a lot of common film references of what we love, so thats always a great touchstone.
This is a brief excerpt from the interview with David Bowers and Sam Fell. You can view the rest of the interview at the exclusive Flushed Away site.