Peter Lord is a legend in the world of animation, one half of the team behind Aardman Animations, Peter is responsible for the likes of Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, and, of course Wallis and Gromit. A few years ago I was lucky enough to interview Peter when his exhibition ‘The Pirates, an adventure with Scientists’ was residing in Birmingham’s Think Tank. I chatted to Peter about all things animation, including the then upcoming Shaun the Sheep movie which has just been released in cinemas. Here is part of the interview (the full piece appeared in Primary Time West Midlands and Derby editions).
FM: You talk a lot about inspiring young animators to have a go – what advice would you give to those who want to have a go?
PL: The easy advice is to try it, just get started. When you first try animation you don’t need to plan, just get some playmobil, some lego and a camara – you can even do it on your pone these days. Start, and see the magic for yourselves. You actually make something live, something come to life. That alone should be enough to get you interested.
FM: I think most people first became really aware of Aardman Animations through the Creature Comfort adverts. Where did the idea behind those ads come from?
PL: We made a number of films in the 1980s, the big idea was to make plastic figures and make them look like they were talking, which was quite revolutionary then. We decided on animals and then thought ‘wouldn’t it be funny to use normal people’s voices to be the voices of the animals?’ There was just something really funny about the mixture of natural voices and the cartoony looking creatures. But because the voices were not from actors, we had to wait ages for them to say something funny – it really did take some time!
FM: Wallace and Gromit have been supremely successful – was Wallace based on anybody?
PL: Nick Parks (the main force behind Wallace and Gromit) always says that Wallace is sort of based on his own dad, because his dad was an inventor, just like Wallace in the films.
FM: Are there any more plans for Wallace and Gromit? Any more plans for further movies maybe?
PL: Yes, but not right now. One of the greatest things about animation and animated characters is that they never age. Animation never really grows old, which means you can wait for a while and then return to it. So yes we will return to Wallace and Gromit, but just not right now.
FM: Do any of your characters or films have a particularly special place in your heart? Do you have a favourite?
PL: Morph! It’s where I started and so I have huge affection for it. Morph never really gets old for me.
FM: What’s next for Peter Lord and Aardman Animations?
PL: For Aardman, we are now doing some more episodes of Shaun the Sheep for our younger fans, we really love this character and are loving doing this. Even more exciting is that we are also preparing for a Shaun the Sheep movie, to come out in 2015. That is still two years away so it shows you what a slow process animation really is. We are also working on more films – so you need to watch this space.
Shaun the Sheep Movie is now at Cinema’s across the UK.