Mr and Mrs turn Pythons into monkeys

London-based animation and motion design studio Mr & Mrs created the delightfully whimsical CG sequence, 'Monkeys'. We spoke to Anne Brassier how the designs came about

DA:  What made you decide to work on the Chapman film?

AB: "When Justin Weyers got in touch in 2010 to see if we'd like to create some animation for a film about Graham Chapman, we accepted readily. The chance to work on an animated feature, to create some stereoscopic 3D animation, and to work collaboratively with other studios were three very good reasons to get involved. The biggest reason was that Monty Python rules.

DA: What made you decide to depict the Pythons as monkeys?

AB: "That was decided for us; we were provided with the portions of the script that we were to animate and it stipulated a safari park and monkeys.

DA:  What inspired you to choose the animation style you used?

AB: "We initially planned to create the characters and the environment in clay and stop frame animate the whole section, but there were already studios doing that and part of the appeal of the film was that everyone was to do something completely different (and now, for something completely different....); we felt that we could make a nice hybrid style of 3D inspired by clay.

DA: What was the design process like?

AB: "When we received the script and the audio recordings for our section, we spent a long time listening to the dialogue and the tone of the characters. Then we began playing with the idea of the monkeys in the safari park being a destructive force, set against the car that would continues the story through different scenes.

"They were originally quite an aggressive and intimidating bunch, and we felt this didn't quite fit so eventually we made them more of a slapstick group of fun destructive monkeys, with Graham as the central monkey of reason, possessing a very human persona.

"After we had this core idea, we sketched a huge number of monkeys (above top) and acted out the scene ourselves so that we could get into the minds of the monkeys.

"When we finally had a shortlist of styles we brought our favourite monkeys to life as clay sculptures (above bottom), then modelled the final monkey character in 3D once we’d all agreed which one to go for. Graham came first then the rest of the Pythons seemed to build themselves."

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