A Fantastic Opportunity with Mr. Fox
Gustafson cites a very long take that begins with the Mole character playing the piano as the most difficult shot in the film. "It's very complex. There are lots of characters and blocking. Mark Waring, our animation supervisor, actually animated it himself, and I think he did a brilliant job."
However, the animation director is proudest of a majestic scene with a wolf toward the end of the film. "I kind of scratched my head when I read it, but, ultimately, I'm really pleased with that scene and how it works in the film. Sometimes, you just can't predict how something like that is going to go. It seemed odd to me but it's maybe my favorite scene in the whole film."
Interestingly, Bill Murray, who plays the Badger, offered to stand in for the wolf during the unorthodox voice over shoot on location at a Connecticut farm. "There's some great footage of him," Gustafson adds. "He's really far from the camera and really small but it's unquestionably Bill Murray running around in a field. For me, it was amazing --an incredible learning experience and it was great having someone like Wes, who was constantly pushing me outside of my comfort zone."
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.