Chuck Steel

The psychologist character, outside of where that ends up by the end, where did the idea for that come from? I’ve seen versions of that character in certain films try to analyze the damaged lead character, but this is different. The influence she has in the squad room is different than what I’ve seen before.

In the original script, that character was a man and not a woman, but at a certain point, I changed it into a woman mainly because there weren’t any strong female characters in it, and it needed one somewhere. It added another dimension to the script in terms of the male-female thing. Chuck’s misogynistic behavior seemed to get ramped up, and she was the counterbalance to that, in addition to what else she was doing in the police station with the other cops. In the film, it’s laughing at liberal agendas as well as conservative ideas. I don’t think it’s making any particular political point, but we were laughing at as many things as we could.

Speaking of politics, you have this Puritan character as governor. And you said last night that there’s a character here that was slightly based on Donald Trump, but long before he was running for president. The character is just a drunken partier.

Yeah, he was just meant to be a businessman, and at the time, Donald Trump was just known as a businessman, but it’s not meant to be a caricature of him. He’s just got slightly weird hair [laughs].

What do you think the 15-year-old you would think of this movie.

He would probably think “Finally, I got it made!” [laughs] I don’t know; I’m not sure I can make that leap. If people aren’t familiar with all of the references, I don’t know what they’ll think of it. It’s a fun ride.

I don’t want people to watch this at home. This is a shared-experience, midnight-movie type of thing. What has your Fantasia experience been? The audience went crazy for this last night.

It was great. The film looked and sounded great on that screen, which is really important. We’d done a final little tweak to the sound, punching things through, and it really worked. I was trying to listen to people’s reactions and when the laughed, and a lot of the time, they were missing jokes because they were still laughing at the last one. I guess they’ll have to watch it again.

Do you have ideas for further Chuck Steel adventures? There’s a joke at the end of the film about werewolf prostitutes.

Maybe that [laughs]. I do have ideas for sequels but I’m not counting my chickens yet. We have to see how this goes and keep our fingers crossed that we get that opportunity.

You mentioned you were doing other work in the periods where you weren’t making this film. What were some of your other jobs?

I was doing animated commercials. I directed…you know Shaun the Sheep [the television series]? I directed five episodes of that. I worked as a freelancer, directing and animating.

So you have worked in the mainstream. How did you want to make your operation different and similar?

We definitely wanted to be our own entity. We’d like to do more edgy projects and adult fare, which is not to say we won’t do more family stuff as well. One of the things I think works well in the film is the pace—it is quite relentless, in the action scenes, it’s fast, it feels like a live-action film. I think that’s one thing we can do really well, set pieces and action scenes where you forget it’s stop motion.

Is it actually more difficult doing action scenes in terms of timing things out?

Not really. It just depends on how you direct it, how you see it in your head. There are a lot of shots in there where you just get a close-up of Chuck’s eyes in an action scene, and that comes from, if you watch any Stallone films, he does that all the time. They cut from a massive wide to a close-up of his eyes, so there are a lot of things I’ve picked up from watching over the years that I can then inject a lot of pace into, but are actually quite simple.

Speaking of going R-rated in a normally family-friendly form, I’m curious what you think of this new muppet movie that coming out soon, The Happytime Murders.

We are keen to see how that does. We haven’t seen it yet; I’ve only seen the trailer, but that’s the closest of to the kind of film we’ve got, but with muppets. And considering how most studios are putting out nothing by safer, PG-13 film, how is anyone supposed to make anything different. We’re watching that one closely and hoping it does really well. One of the things I wanted to do with the film, because when you adult animation, there’s a tendency to be crude and unpleasant and have sex jokes, I did want to maintain the charm with Chuck—a little bit of innocence in him. Yes, it’s gory and violent but it’s also quite fun, and there’s nothing in there that’s going to make you go “They stepped over the line there.” Sometimes film that try to push these boundaries go to far, I feel anyways. We’ll see how that one does, though.

Best of luck. I can’t wait see where this lands.

Thanks. Cheers.

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