Our fantastic stop-motion director Anthony Farquhar-Smith returned as a key animator for Wes Anderson on the recently released and much-lauded Isle of Dogs, following his work on the 2009 triumph, Fantastic Mr. Fox.
The charming, staggeringly elaborate stop-motion film tells the story a 12-year-old boy, Atari Kobayashi, and his search for his beloved dog. Spots, along with all other dogs from Megasaki City, have been exiled to Trash Island by the evil mayor Kobayashi, Atari’s uncle and guardian.
Those of you amongst the 50,000-odd who visited the accompanying exhibition at London’s 180 The Strand will have encountered 17 genuine sets and characters in various of the four scale sizes created for the film, including the Kubrick-inspired white laboratory that Anthony worked on. Scroll down to check out some of the atmospheric environments if you weren’t lucky enough to make it to the show, which was a truly breathtaking showcase of craftsmanship and design.
In one of the film’s most complex scenes, the camera hovers over the hands of a Japanese sushi chef who slices, chops and rolls a buffet of seafood with impeccable precision. Captured from above with the painstaking level of detail we have come to expect and love from Wes, the 45-second sequence took about two and a half months to shoot. In preparation, the film’s animation director Mark Waring and his team (director Brad Schiff and animators Anthony, Andy Biddle and Tobias Fouracre) studied the best sushi chefs for months. “It was such an involved technical process,” he recalls. “There are many different styles of sushi. We had to really learn how they cut it, how the hands roll the rice, etc. There’s a great sushi restaurant in France, which is Wes’s favourite. We modelled the puppet on the actual chef of the restaurant.” Read more via Animation Magazine.
To get an idea of the scale and time involved in achieving such a remarkable feat, watch this fascinating behind the scenes film focusing on the hugely talented team of animators who worked on the feature. From 0:19 you scan see Anthony working on the lab with characters Professor Watanabe (Akira Ito) and Assistant-Scientist Yoko-ono (Yoko Ono), followed by the sushi chef wrapping up his delicacies.