The Oscars: Park Talks Wallace & Gromit
Aardman wasn't able to get its latest Wallace & Gromit short qualified last year for the Oscars, but there was no problem this year getting A Matter of Loaf and Death in the hunt for their fifth Academy Award. Nick Park tells us all about their adventures as bakers and trying to nab the serial killer that's terrorizing their industry.
Bill Desowitz: Congratulations. You can never take anything for granted, can you?
Nick Park: No, absolutely. It's amazing to be up there, really, and still be able to get that kind of [consideration].
BD: But A Matter of Loaf and Death proved to be extremely successful when it aired as a Christmas special a couple of years ago, attracting 14 million viewers.
NP: Yeah, I think it's because it's now 20 years since Wallace & Gromit have been around and I guess it shows that there's been a built up and it's soaked in.
BD: Talk about the challenge of keeping it fresh and achieving such a high standard of quality.
BD: What inspired this idea of them becoming bakers?
NP: Well, it was nice after two features back-to-back to do something more homegrown, effectively with the BBC, and I sat down with my old writing colleague, Bob Baker, who, by the way, appears in the beginning as Baker Bob. But we sat down with a few ideas in the back of my head and the main ones were this romance for Gromit, which has never happened before, and then a joke of Wallace going to a dating agency, which didn't appear in the film, eventually. We needed something sinister going on for Gromit to unravel as the detective, and we had this idea where the lady behind the agency, who took down all of his details, turns up on the date. But we couldn't think of a single thing as her motivation of what Wallace had to offer. And we didn't have anything new for them to do as their business. So we thought what if he talks about bread and dough and she thinks he's got money. And then we suddenly thought it would be great to be making bread, and that sparked us off in that direction. And we found there's a whole world out there.
BD: So it was great to get back to basics?