Gideon Defoe Interview
Gideon Defoe Interview
What were your impressions of the animation process?

Gideon Defoe

It's a cliche to talk about the painstakingness of stop-motion, but I think Peter Lord makes a great point about how it's also one of the few forms of animation where there's room for some spontaneity. It's not entirely mapped out beforehand. And the main thing Aardman is so great at is giving proper, genuine performances - the animators are all brilliant actors in that respect. When I first saw the rough storyboard reel, I was really alarmed, because it didn't feel like any of the gags landed like they should. But of course that's because most of the comedy is in the actual finished performance.
Do you have a favourite scene in the film?

Gideon Defoe

I'm very fond of the entire 'Science Show' sequence. I think it’s at that point the audience start scratching their heads and saying, "Okay, this isn't exactly what I expected from a pirate movie." And, as ever, it's all the stupid little throwaway sight gags they cram in to the background that makes it.
Was there anything in the book that you were sad not to see in the film? And, to turn that around, was there anything in the film where you thought, 'Oh, I wish I'd thought of that!'

Gideon Defoe

From the outset we decided it was important to try to keep the tone of the books, but not necessarily the same exact plot. So it deviates pretty wildly, which was very liberating. One of the advantages of the books not being as famous as say, Harry Potter, is that there was no pressure to be too faithful. Having said that, I suppose I do miss some of the book's weird little detours to Littlehampton and London Zoo. As for the 'I wish I'd thought of that' bits, I've got to admit I had very little input into the entire bravura bath-tub-chase-through-Darwin's-house sequence, which is amazing.
Which character or moment in the film are you most proud of?

Gideon Defoe

I'm happy the Elephant Man gets his cameo.
Are there plans for the rest of the books to be turned into films? Do you see this as a long running franchise with merchandise and Pirate Captain dolls?

Gideon Defoe

That all depends on the box-office. But yes, we're working on a sequel, because it was always intended as a series of adventures, and there's lots of stuff I'd like to see Aardman build.
The film is rated U, but what age do you think the film is marketed at and what age range do you think will go and see it?

Gideon Defoe

I have no idea about who will see it. Everybody, hopefully. I think once you start writing with a target audience in mind, you're screwed. You've got write stuff you like yourself, and hope other people agree with you.
There are four books, and some have different titles for the American audience. This film has the same name as the original book title – will this be changed for the US?

Gideon Defoe

In America it's called "The Pirates! Band of Misfits". This is one of those marketing decisions that you just have to hope has some logic to it. To be fair, An Adventure with Scientists is a bit of a mouthful.
Do you know if the girl you tried to impress by describing yourself as an author is a) now impressed by you being a proper and established author, and b) by you now becoming a screenwriter as well?

Gideon Defoe

No, it's not the kind of thing that really works with girls, as it turns out. Though I did meet my girlfriend whilst she was working at Aardman, so in a way my clever strategy worked, it just took a few years and a different girl.
Your next book is called The Pirates! In an Adventure with Romantics. My editor claims that her passion for Victorian literature at the book group she invited you too, might have inspired this title. Is this true or is that her just trying to muscle in on your fame one more time?

Gideon Defoe

I don't want take any credit away from Charlotte, but it was more that the prospect of the Pirate Captain meeting Byron, a figure almost as ludicrous as himself, and the idea of what would result from the Captain trying his hand at gothic literature, that made the Romantics an attractive subject. Also, having done Darwin, Marx, Napoleon and Ahab, we're running out of 19th century literary and historical figures.

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