The Oscars: Phelan Talks Granny O' Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
NP: Yeah, Kathleen's script wasn't changed that much originally from what it was on stage. But it was challenging getting something that worked so well as a live performance in set, constructed, short time: making sure it breathed where it needed to and it hit the coming timing. It took a few boards and lots of animatics where it felt as well as it did on the stage. And it was really important to me that audiences got to appreciate the humor in the same way.
NP: It took us a while to get there because, again, it's very different performing to an audience as opposed to going into a booth and reacting to somebody saying, "Let's do that again." But we found that she needed to be more exaggerated than she was on stage because it didn't play as stylized in animatic that it needed to play in animation. I suppose the world itself has become more caricatured and stylized, so we listened to The Simpsons and stuff like that. Looking at the pictures and listening to the voices, they're pretty extreme. So that's where we arrived at Granny.
BD: What do you think about the other nominated shorts, considering they're all comedies and several feature elderly characters?
NP: Yeah, it's interesting, isn't it? I haven't seen all of Logorama, but what I've seen looks amazing. And the style is really cool and I'd love to see it. And I'm a huge fan of Wallace & Gromit, so for Granny to be on any list with it is crazy and I really enjoy the work of Nick Park and Aardman so much. French Roast is really beautiful and the design and I love the mirror shot, and I think it's really, really charming. Same with The Lady and the Reaper: the design is really impressive, but, again, I've only seen the trailers.
BD: What other projects are you working on?
NP: There are a few shorts that I would like to do or other ideas that I have to develop. I'm still with Brown Bag for TV series that I'm animation director on. And it's good that I'm enjoying it.
Bill Desowitz is Senior Editor of AWN & VFXWorld.