'The Inventor' Will Team 'Wolfwalkers' Director With 'Ratatouille' Writer For Stop-Motion Film

After more than a decade of directing top-tier animated films that went under the radar, Tomm Moore is enjoying his moment in the sun. His breathtaking Wolfwalkers is nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, and people are finally paying attention to his small Irish animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, and its innovative use of 2D animation. Now, Moore is getting work beyond the films he himself has directed, teaming up with Ratatouille writer Jim Capobianco on the stop-motion animated feature The Inventor.

Deadline reports that Moore has joined the creative team of The Inventor, a new stop-motion animated film directed by Capobianco. Moore, who has helmed 2D masterpieces such as the Oscar-nominated Song of the Sea and The Secret of Kells, is naturally directing the 2D sequences of the film. Moore will be working alongside his frequent collaborator Fabian Erlinghäuser, who was an animator on Wolfwalkers, which is up for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature this weekend.

The Inventor is a hybrid 2D and puppet-animated feature, with the latter sequences set to be directed by Capobianco, who also penned the screenplay. Budgeted at $10 million, The Inventor is currently in pre-production and features an impressive voice cast that includes Stephen Fry, Daisy Ridley, Marion Cotillard, and Matt Berry.

Per Deadline, The Inventor "follows the life and times of Leonardo da Vinci, tracking how the insatiably curious and headstrong Italian inventor joins the French court, where he can experiment freely, inventing flying contraptions, incredible machines, and study the human body. He is joined in his adventure by the audacious Princess Marguerite, who will help him uncover the answer to the ultimate question: what is the meaning of it all?"

An experimental hybrid animated film sounds like the perfect fit for the story of a Renaissance man like Leonardo da Vinci. And Moore's talents seem like they're being put to good use in a film that will look very different from the 3D animated dreck being put out by many major studios. Capobianco, who makes his feature directorial debut with The Inventor, said in a statement that he and Moore had long wanted to work together.

"Tomm and I have been looking to work together ever since The Secret Of Kells and my short film Leonardo played together at film festivals," said writer-director Jim Capobianco. "It is only fitting to collaborate on The Inventor, a film that combines both puppet animation and 2D drawn animation, and will require an exceptional talent like Tomm. The grand vision being to make an animated film as if it were helmed by Leonardo da Vinci himself."

The Inventor is produced by Robert Rippberger and Capobianco. Executive producers are Don Hahn, Ilan Urroz, Ellen Byrne, Vince McCarthy, Kat Alioshin, Stéphan Roelants, Carmella Casinelli, Jeremy Walton, David Lyons, Ryan Clarkson, Eric Vonfeldt, Lorenz Evans, Steve Muench, and Sita Saviolo. Its targeted release date is spring 2023.