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Aardman's TORTOISE AND THE HARE halted!!!

Hey folks Harry here.... seems that Aardman Animation ran into some story problems of some sort on TORTOISE AND THE HARE, putting the project into the halted category.... However, is it possible that the Wallace and Gromit feature will now be fast tracked... and is that a good thing? Wouldn't we want it to be crafted everybit as slowly as Nick Park wants it to be? We'll see... Here ya go... I'm bummed, TORTOISE AND THE HARE was set to be absolutely interesting from what little details were leaking. Sigh....

Yes Harry, It's meltdown time on the latest Aardman/Dreamwork's feature The Tortoise and The Hare.

Production was formally halted on Tuesday 3rd July for an indefinate period and around 150 people, many in tears were laid off from the studios. It seems that Aardman jumped the gun and moved into production before serious script issues had been resolved. Yours truly having been slipped several drafts can see why.....this was an unholy mess of a film and it's amazing that it even got as far as it did.

The alarm bells should have started ringing months ago when various voice talent came and went and intricate sets were being built and then promptly trashed without being filmed. What a waste !

Anyway, Aardman have lost a lot of credibiltity and the nagging question mark hanging over the company as to whether anyone there other than Nick Park (remember Tortoise and The Hare was being directed by Richard Goleszowski and Peter Lord) can handle a major feature film like this remains....

Word has it that Nick is now fast tracking the Wallce and Gromit feature with the likelihood that Tortoise may just fade away into the ether.


Gromit !

Readers Talkback
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  • July 5, 2001, 1:07 a.m. CST


    by phatjacck

    i wish that they would have finished the movie, released it anyway and THEN fire the people. I liked the Iron Giant, Titan A.E, and yes, even Atlantis. It's too bad that the people that dedicate alot of time and effort into these movies are the ones that get fired. oh well.

  • July 5, 2001, 1:33 a.m. CST


    by vertigo93

    Richard Goleszowski was the guy who directed the Brit animated series Rex The Runt, which was damn good, so this is a shame. I think that Nick Park could be an anvil round Aardman's neck since they'll only get a project greenlit if he's on board - which means more pf the same (if funny) stuff rather than any real innovation.

  • July 5, 2001, 1:42 a.m. CST

    More cheese Gromit?

    by Pupkin

    I bought the W+G DVD yesterday, having watched all 3 in a row, I think it's definately time for a feature. But without Mel Gibson or anyone like him. Please.

  • July 5, 2001, 2:28 a.m. CST

    did anyone...

    by Jon L. Ander

    ever see that animated series on the BBC about three years ago called Gogs? The thing with the cavemen? I hardly know anyone else whose seen it but i thought it was one of the funniest things i'd ever seen. Does anyone know if it's available on VHS or DVD?

  • July 5, 2001, 3:29 a.m. CST


    by BComing

    i saw gogs in a video store today! it was available for rent but do not know if one can buy it.

  • July 5, 2001, 4:21 a.m. CST

    buying gogs

    by Morantic

    Gogs is out on Region 2 DVD - with the two series and the special on one disc. for about twenty quid in good old britannia. You can't get it on video anymore though.

  • July 5, 2001, 4:23 a.m. CST


    by DANZIGG

    I live in Wiltshire which is close to Bristol which is where they Aardman is based this week Prince Charles visited where they were making & developing and heard mention that Wallace & Gromit is due 2004 but if i remember Aardman is also doing a project with Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame and Spielbergs Dreamworks Company.

  • July 5, 2001, 5:55 a.m. CST

    So, I guess Tortoise & the Hare is in a state of . . . Suspended

    by Ivan Alexeev

    Da-bump-bump! Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

  • July 5, 2001, 6:14 a.m. CST

    Slow and Steady Wins the Race

    by droosan

    So Aardman rushed pell-mell into the production without properly preparing themselves; causing them to 'take a break' which could very well keep them from even finishing? Aesop himself couldn't come up with such an irony .. oh, wait, I guess he did. ^_^

  • July 5, 2001, 6:59 a.m. CST

    This is terrible...

    by Mac an Cheanna

    I feel very sorry for all the workers at Aardman animations who have been laid off, but its frightening to think that movies are made nowadays before the script is even complete. I mean what the hell were they thinking? Perhaps it would have been better if they'd made the Wallace and Gromit movie first, as it would have been a lot easier for them to work with characters with distinct personalities they were familiar with, than coming up with new characters from scratch. Good and all as "Chicken Run" was it cannot compare to the sheer brilliance of "The Wrong Trousers" which was undeniably Claymation's finest hour. "A Close Shave" was also very good, and "A Grand Day Out" was pretty good too, despite the animation having a very cheap home-made look to it. The cooker with arms that went skiing on the Moon was very cool. Claymation's greatest villain is still that very sinister Penguin from "The Wrong Trousers".

  • July 5, 2001, 7:44 a.m. CST

    you don't know JACK shit, PhatJacck!

    by kall911

    "Even Atlantis"?? You mean to tell me you almost feel ashamed to like Atlantis, but you're perfectly secure in mentioning TitanAE, that ABOMINATON of Dreamworks' animation crapfest? Sure, Atlantis ain't that great, but TitanAE is fucking painful to watch - John Leguizamo should be shot for that annoying Turtle he played...ahh, what the hell, shoot everyone even remotely associated with the AE project.

  • July 5, 2001, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Titan A.E. not crapped by Dreamworks

    by Hegemony Cricket

    TItan A.E. = Embarassingly bad work from Don Bluth (who should frikkin know better...oh wait...maybe not...I always forget Balto...). But it wasn't was FOX. Wow that movie sucked. CG: sucked. Cel/CG matting: SUCKED. Scripting: HOOBOY did that suck! Soundtrack YAAAGH super fuckin' suck. That was the most crapulently musical non-musical I've ever seen. Hopefully Ice Age won't suck quite as bad (thanks to Blue Sky) so Fox will rethink their position on animated features...

  • July 5, 2001, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Whew, I didn't hate Titan AE THAT much...

    by happywaffle

    Some of the visuals were neat. ...Still sucked tho. :D

  • July 5, 2001, 11:11 a.m. CST

    Hegemony Cricket, Bluth had nothing to do with BALTO ...

    by droosan

    BALTO was directed by Simon Wells for Amblin Entertainment (and it stands among the best animated films of the '90's, IMO). I wouldn't hold Bluth completely responsible for TITAN A.E., either; he inherited the project after director Art Vitello (of TINY TOON ADVENTURES fame) left after two years of development. Also, initially, it was envisioned as a full-CGI animated film; the decision to go for a 2D-3D blend wasn't made until well into production, and was likely not entirely Bluth's idea; this was more of a budget consideration than a creative one, and unfortunately the design choices which resulted from Bluth's re-tooling of the production resulted in a jarring difference between the 3D elements (much of which had already been in progress -- at various other studios) and the 2D traditionally animated characters (especially the heavily-rotoscoped humans). Don't get me wrong; I agree that TITAN A.E. is ultimately an unsatisfying film (albeit with many good bits here and there!), but it is not entirely Bluth's fault. It is a shame that the Fox Animation Studio had to fold because of it, however; here's hoping the same won't happen to Aardman!

  • July 5, 2001, 12:37 p.m. CST

    genius+big film corp=conflict!!

    by BBF

    To be honest this doesn't suprise me. Ever since Aardman announced that Dreamworks had bought a bunch of films I knew it wouldn't work. The reason Aardman did so well is because before it had lots of ideas and didn't have any rules to stick to. With Chicken Run(which was good but not nearly as it could have been if they'd been left alone by Dreamworks) Dreamworks basically had ideas of what they wanted in the film which as it turned out didn't gel with the talented geniuses at Aardman. This is precisely why W&G should be left alone until Nick Park and only Nick Park(and Peter Lord or who ever else is involved at Aardman) thinks it's ready. W&G is a proven formula so PLEASE don't mess with it Dreamworks!! As for the image of employees crying as they left that really gets to my heart! THESE people are the REAL heros behind the films, people who are so involved they cry when they leave!

  • July 6, 2001, 3:14 a.m. CST

    I wonder....

    by Otter

    .....wasn't DISNEY somehow involved with the Tortoise & Hare at one point? If they were, that explains all the major FUBAR and the layoffs...just wondering...

  • July 6, 2001, 3:15 a.m. CST


    by Otter

    Dreamworks was bad

  • July 6, 2001, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Isn't this a good thing ?

    by SpacePhil

    Personally, I have more respect for Aardman for this action. How many other studios in Hollywood would have pushed it into production anyway ? Anyone willing to trade cash for quality gets a thumbs-up in my book.

  • July 6, 2001, 5:50 a.m. CST

    Many talkbalkers who know nothing

    by PKD

    First off - for anyone who is interested, Dreamworks is COMPLETELY hands off when it comes to Aardman. I know this on good authority. They know they have a good thing and they are not about to mess it up. Aardman halted production because the story was not translating as well as they had hoped. Remember that it is a challenge to translate a script into action - especially in the technique that Aardman uses. And those who think that Chicken Run wasn'at as good as it should have been - remember 2 things. First, Aardman had NEVER done a feature length project before. Much of what makes their work great is the wonderment you feel watching the images - because they are so fucking cool. In Chicken Run, that feeling is somewhat lost simply due to the running time. Second - WOULD YOU ALL PLEASE GET A LITTLE FUCKING PERSPECTIVE!!!! Chicken Run was a great fucking movie. It was a lot of fun and worked very well. Sure, I was disappointed taht it wasn't Wallace and Gromit - but for fuck sake people - you remind me of Homer Simpson watching BTO - "PLAY Takin' Care of Business!! new stuff, no crap, just TCB!!...Now GET TO THE ' WORKIN OVERTIME' BIT!!!" You bitch and moan that no one is doing anything original or anything of quality - then something original and of very high quality comes along and what do you do? YOU BITCH!!

  • July 6, 2001, 3:21 p.m. CST

    Chicken run was shit?

    by jetcreep

    Go buy yourself a camera and become a movie maker of the quality of that film. Some people blow off at the mouth and know nothing of what they speak! It was a fine film, very funny, and a lot of hard work went into it. Much more than the "need a life's" that condemn everyones work when they have no idea what went into it. Shut the *&^& up and go see something else....Get a Life!

  • July 6, 2001, 9:15 p.m. CST

    Truth about TORTOISE

    by JAZ

    I know this project well, I'm close to some of the key creative personel and feel an obligation (after reading all this heresay) to come to the defense of those who have already given two years of their lives to this film. I've read a recent draft of the script. It's very funny. I've seen some of the storyboards and character designs in the halls of Dreamworks. Again, very funny. Very Aardman. I've even seen some of the test animation -- a very funny "interview" segment (the film is a mock documentary) with two pigs sitting at a pub bar talking directly to camera (hilariously voiced by two guys from one of my favorite Brit sketch coms "THE FAST SHOW.") It's all funny and all looks like vintage Aardman material to me. Here's what I know from my sources on the inside. Michael Caine was originally cast to play the tortoise but Katzenberg wanted the character to be younger. So they recast. Paul Whitehouse (again from THE FAST SHOW) was to do the hare but had to pull out because of scheduling conflicts. Those are the only casting changes. Last I heard they had Bob Hoskins and Brenda Blethyn actually recorded and ready to animate. They also got Orlando Jones to play a porcupine who is modeled after Don King (which makes me laugh just thinking about it). This temporary shut down has nothing to do with the Wallace and Gromit feature. I have information I probably shouldn't share here, but believe me -- W&G is nowhere near being ready to be put into production. Trust me. From what I gather, this sort of shut down is fairly common in animation. Dreamworks just did it on the PDI project, TUSKER. Disney's done it as well. At some point, when the powers that be determine that the story isn't as solid as it needs to be, they temporarily halt production to regroup and retool because these things cost something like $300k a week to shoot. So it's more cost effective to shut down, get it right, then start up again. As with most issues in the movie biz, it all comes down to money in the end. So let's stop all these ridiculous rumors. The script WAS "complete" -- several drafts of it. Aardman has NEVER had a deal with Terry Gilliam to direct a movie. Dreamworks does remain relatively "hands off." Nick Park and Peter Lord have been quoted in several interviews saying that Dreamwork's involvement helped CHICKEN RUN (which in my opinion as well as about a hundred of the top film critics was one of the best films of 2000). So let's stop the rumour mill and let these people get on with the business at which they are great -- making quality films. All this talk just adds more hurt to what I can only imagine is a horribly painful process for all those amazingly talented folks at Aardman. So the movie comes out a little later than planned. Big whoop. From what I know, it's well worth waiting for.

  • July 7, 2001, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Peter Lord and Richard Goleszowski

    by pipeweed

    These are two fim makers who are really superb at their craft and willing to explore aesthetically. Nick Park's work is easier to digest but I am confident that could be very exciting departure from AA's well trodden Creature Comfort's style. They will need really good a strong script and sound and this is where War Story and Ident were both lacking: both of which are really cool but needed spit and pollish: jewel's in the rough.

  • April 29, 2010, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Fuck you QcoIQh

    by orcus