The nights are long, the weather is cold and Christmas seems to draw closer by the nanosecond – it makes you want to hibernate. But one motley gang of sewer creatures are heading overground. Tonight, Roddy, Sid, Rita and Toad are out in full human-sized force at the European premiere of their new movie, Flushed Away. This Aardman/Dreamworks animated production tells the story of town mouse Roddy St.James (Hugh Jackman), who is literally flushed down the toilet following the onslaught of a new sewer rat on the block (Shane Ritchie. Yes…Shane Ritchie).
Having made a decent splash at the US box office and garnered solid critical acclaim, directors David Bowers and Sam Fell arrived at the Empire Leicester Square in unsurprisingly jovial spirits: “We’re really enjoying tonight”, said Fell. (As the X-Factor contestants are just a few metres away, who could blame them!) “When you’re making a film, you always wonder whether people are going to like it, but people seem to be genuinely embracing it [Flushed Away] and it’s very gratifying to see that happen.” With all those hours spent inside studios and workshops, making a movie such as this cannot be the most glamorous experience. “No, it’s not glamorous at all”, offered Fell, “but thankfully this [tonight] is!” The majority of contemporary CG-animated flicks take at least three years to reach the screen, and Bowers pointed out the most frustrating aspect of that creative process: “It’s very difficult to get six hundred people all working in the same direction for three years solid. So you have to keep reminding people about what the film looks and feels like. It’s a long hard road”.
The filmmakers were keen to offer their opinions on what makes a truly great animated movie: “It needs to work on a number of levels. You need to entertain the grown-ups as well as the kids, and because we can invent whatever we like, we can put a lot of effort into creating really rich backgrounds, sets and great characters – characters you can fall in love with. And, of course, funny jokes.”
And the jokes managed to spill over the edge of the toilet bowl and onto the smiling, laughing faces of Hugh Jackman and Kumurs At No.42 star Sanjeev Bhaskar: “Yes, we know each other. We had a scene together in a swimming pool” says Bhaskar. (They did both had roles in Woody Allen’s Scoop.) The silliness continued as Jackman added, “it was a nude, lovemaking scene, but it may be cut from the movie”. Turning to Bhaskar, he asked, “were they actually filming us?”. “Well, there was definitely a man making a whirring sound”, confirmed Bhaskar.
“Well, I’m a huge Aardman fan so being part of this movie was a blast”, added a hurried Jackman. “And, finally, finally, my little boy can see one of my movies”.
Flushed Away is released across cinemas on December 1st