There are plenty of featurettes released every week that have talking heads from directors, actors, producers and other crew members to help explain to audiences what’s so special about the movie they’re working on. Every now and then, one comes along that does something a little different, and this time it’s director Wes Anderson and his stop-motion animated adventure Isle of Dogs.
Instead of talking to the voice actors behind the dogs with a cardboard cutout of the poster behind them, Wes Anderson had Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Liev Schriber, F. Murray Abraham, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson, Bob Balaban, and Tilda Swinton interviewed about the movie, and then created animation as if their canine characters were doing the Isle of Dogs cast interviews themselves.
Watch the Isle of Dogs Cast Interviews
This is such a wonderful little featurette. I wish all of the electronic press kits for movies could be so innovative and cool. Aside from the wonderful dogs being animated, I love that some of the backgrounds also have little things happening in them, like a rat scurrying across a junkyard, a piece of paper blowing in the wind, or another dog just staring as the interview is conducted.
Each of the actors recorded themselves for these Isle of Dogs cast interviews, most with their iPhones. That’s why Edward Norton’s has some audio blemishes from touching the microphone he used for his interview (which was perfectly animated in the short). That’s also why Bill Murray’s audio sounds like it was done outside. That interview in particular was recorded in his car on the move.
How the Dog Characters Were Created
As for the dogs themselves, unlike most animated movies where the design of the characters is determined before a voice cast is found, the voices were recorded first and the characters were created afterwards. Anderson explained to Vulture:
“The most we had were some sketches I made, or some images of dogs we’d picked as models, but the way the dogs were designed was through sculpting them. They began as clay sculptures, and with those sculptures, we were shaping them to have the personality of the performances we had from each actor.”
With the unique voice and cadence of Jeff Goldblum, it was a challenge to create a dog that matched his persona. “I would bet Jeff has a genius-level IQ, and we had to get a dog that seemed to be following his train of thought,” Anderson said. “I have no idea how you do that exactly, but you know when it’s not there yet.”
As for the dogs’ impressive faces, Anderson explains:
“They’re made by a guy named Andy Gent, who’s the master of puppet-making for us. He worked on Fantastic Mr. Fox, too. There are only a handful of animators in the world on his level. They work with the actors’ voices, and they bring something out of the puppet with their hands and their eyes and their brain that comes from a completely different place than reality. It’s very mysterious. Even though I’ve worked with some of these animators for years, what they do is still like a magic trick that I don’t understand.”
Isle of Dogs is in theaters on March 23, 2018. Watch the trailer right here if you haven’t seen it already.
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