Thursday, February 01, 2007
The five-film deal between Dreamworks in Hollywood and Aardman Animations in Bristol has ended after only three films. Aardman's claymation epics - notably Flushed Away and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit - didn't do well enough in America. Four Oscars don't, in the event, mean that much at the Box Office. This is good news; that deal should never have been done. The presiding genius of Aardman - Nick Park, I interviewed him in 2003 - has less in common with Los Angeles than any man I have ever met. Park is English, impenetrably so to foreigners. Self-deprecating to the point of neurosis, he doesn't play the cheap, self-hyping publicity game. After a fire that destroyed an Aardman warehouse in Bristol, he said, 'In the light of other tragedies, it's not a big deal.' On the TV news you are supposed to weep and wail; not Park, he has perspective. Like the great Tommy Cooper, he does not have to try to be funny, he just is profoundly funny. The short Creature Comforts films were masterpieces of poignant, humane comedy - see my theory about them in the article. Without Hollywood on his back, he will - I hope - be free again. My dear, departed friend Auberon Waugh used to say you shouldn't sign anything put in front of you by an American lawyer. I wouldn't necessarily go that far but Bron, like Park, was a wistful, dreaming English genius and, perhaps, for them, this is the right advice. Such people are a diminishing resource, we should pass legislation to protect them from ever having to sign anything.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:52 am