Saturday, November 19, 2011

Black Sheep interviews George Miller

You’d think that in 2006, the film world would have had enough of penguins. After all, they had been inundated with the lovable creatures for an entire year already. In 2005, the touching documentary, THE MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, charmed audiences around the world and that was followed by the New York City zoo comedy, MADAGASCAR, which featured a merry band of mischievous, and often hilarious, penguin cohorts.

By the time George Miller’s HAPPY FEET made its way to cinemas, it seemed at first that people might finally have had their fill, but their penguin love was apparently insatiable. The film would go on to take in nearly $400 million around the world and beat out Pixar by taking home the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. All the same, the film, in which a young penguin named Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) learns that his sick ability to tap dance makes him a unique breed and not the pariah he always thought himself to be.

As much as I enjoyed HAPPY FEET, I didn’t see any need for a sequel. I guess you had to be there though. “The first film took so long to make, about four years, and as we were coming into the last year, we were already starting to formulate this new story,” writer/director, Miller, tells me when we meet on his HAPPY FEET TWO press tour. “That’s never happened to me before. I have never been working on a film and thinking of the next one at the same time. I cannot think of any story to tell after this movie though.”

So no "Happy Feet Three" then? “Not at this time. I’ve got another 'Mad Max' movie to make and have been wanting to do that for a decade now,” Miller admits candidly. After looking at his recent success with this series and his previous success with the adorable talking pig movie series, BABE, it’s easy to forget that Miller once directed the "Mad Max" films. He will miss animation though. He explains, “It’s like creating a painting and painting over the top. You can make mistakes because correction is very easy and relatively cheap so the film tends to be a lot tighter and the story more well told.”

That leaves only one danger for a perfectionist filmmaker like Miller. “I haven’t seen the film with an audience yet but I’m going to wait a week or two because I know I’ll want to change something.”

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