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Aardman, Bryan Cranston Fight Dementia with an Orange

‘Breaking Bad’ actor stars in multimedia animated call to think differently about Alzheimer’s disease. 

Aardman has contributed to Alzheimer’s Research U.K.’s Share the Orange campaign providing animation for a film with Bryan Cranston calling for people to think differently about the disease.

Acclaimed actor, writer, producer, director and author Bryan Cranston is calling on people to share a new thought-provoking film for the U.K.’s leading dementia research charity, Alzheimer’s Research U.K. Created by Aardman Animations and starring Cranston, the campaign confronts misunderstanding around dementia -- using nothing more than an orange.

Cranston, who lost his mother, Audrey “Peggy” Sell, to Alzheimer’s disease in 2004, is supporting the latest chapter in the charity’s award-winning #ShareTheOrange campaign.

The campaign urges viewers to share a short film on their social-media channels to help get people thinking differently about dementia and to challenge the enduring misconception that the condition is simply a by-product of age. A recent YouGov survey commissioned by Alzheimer’s Research U.K. revealed that, when asked what they think dementia is and who it affects, just 23 percent of British adults specifically mentioned brain disease or degeneration.

At the center of the two-minute film, which uses a blend of film, stop-motion and CGI animation, is an orange that gradually strips away to demonstrate how the diseases that cause dementia, most commonly Alzheimer’s, physically attack the brain. Through damage caused by the disease, the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s can weigh around 140 grams less than a healthy brain -- about the weight of an orange. The emotive film, supported by leading financial services company Legal & General, also follows the journey of a person’s life and shows the impact dementia can have on them, their memories, relationships and loved-ones.

But the overall campaign message is one of hope. Research has overcome other physical diseases and scientists across the world are working hard to power breakthroughs that will change the lives of people with dementia, too.

Its launch comes two years after the release of the charity’s first #ShareTheOrange film, fronted by actor Christopher Eccleston. To date, the 2016 short has been viewed more than 15 million times, shared by 2.4 million people and won PR Week’s Charity Campaign of the Year award.

Cranston said he was proud to support the campaign, which aims to further improve understanding of a condition that is now recognized as the U.K.’s leading cause of death, and demonstrate the power of research in finding new breakthrough treatments.

“I was honoured to be part of the #ShareTheOrange campaign for Alzheimer’s Research U.K.,” he says. “Alzheimer’s took my mother’s life, but our loved-ones hopefully could be saved from the same fate. With advanced scientific research, hard work and generous support, Alzheimer’s Research U.K., one day, could make finding a cure a reality.”

"The last #ShareTheOrange film we made with Alzheimer’s Research U.K. was very successful in communicating a difficult and complex message in an easy and memorable way, thanks to the use of stop-motion animation and the metaphor of an orange representing the diseased brain,” says director Magdalena Osinska of Aardman. “In this film we developed the idea further by representing memories which are imprinted on to the orange by tiny animated figurines. The memories fade and are lost as the disease attacks the brain. It highlights the human stories behind people living with dementia and we hope it will help continue to improve understanding and inspire support for more research."

Source: Aardman Animations

Thomas J. McLean's picture

Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.