Not every story dreamed up by England’s Aardman Animations involves Nick Park (the Oscar-winning mastermind on the Wallace & Gromit films). This one, about a pampered pet mouse, Roddy (Hugh Jackman), dispatched from his luxe penthouse into London’s sewers, was made by a core Aardman crew sent across the pond to L.A. to join forces with DreamWorks staffers (you know, the folks who made Shrek). But that’s only part of the cross-cultural exchange. More radically, Flushed will use CG to mimic the imperfect, klunky look of Aardman’s clay-puppet animation, right down to the buck-teeth, button eyes, and fingerprints. Why? Because computers can handle cascades of water too complex to do in plasticine. CG also seemed a better match for intense action-movie-style scenes of Roddy eluding villains with his newfound rat compatriot, Rita (Kate Winslet).
”We really push the boundaries of what you can do with camera moves,” says co-director David Bowers. Possible Gallic-slur controversy: Jean Reno, who lives part-time in France (but is actually of Spanish descent), voices a Parisian mercenary frog namedâ?¦Le Frog. Isn’t that term insulting when it’s aimed at the French by the British? ”It is humorous,” insists Reno. ”I think it’s a good idea to caricature people.” Adds Bowers, ”We were a little nervous sending Jean the first pages, but he saw the sunny side of it.”