Wallace and Gromit draw Screenplay crowd

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park at Mareel this weekend. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

AN EAGER crowd got a real treat on Saturday morning at Mareel as Screenplay guest Nick Park brought his feature-length adventure Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit to Screen 1, writes Ryan Nicolson.

Released in 2005, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit follows the much-loved duo as they embark on a new business venture in pest control in the week leading up to their village’s vegetable show; naturally with Wallace and Gromit the scheme goes awry however, in the face of a giant rabbit which is destroying the locals’ prized vegetables.

Described by Nick Park in the Q&A that followed as “the world’s first vegetarian horror film”, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit went down a storm with the early morning crowd who laughed throughout and applauded loudly during the end credits, an applause which reached thunderous levels when Nick Park appeared on stage afterwards with his Wallace and Gromit figures under his arm.

Despite the length of time between the film’s release and it’s showing on Saturday, Mareel’s main cinema was almost full, testament to the enduring popularity of the duo and the charm of Nick Park himself.

During the Q&A session, Nick fielded many questions firstly from festival curators Mark Kermode and Linda Ruth Williams, then from audience members, with many young children asking Nick tremendously insightful questions about his work on the film.

Nick revealed the full extent of the effort that has to go into one of these films, with his revelation that every animator involved on the film could only create about three seconds of footage a day, surprising many of the assembled crowd as well as his interviewers.

As the screening drew to a close Nick was asked about the future of Wallace and Gromit in the immediate aftermath of the death of the voice of Wallace, Peter Sallis.

To this he responded that he would be taking a brief period off from work in the next few months to decide what was next, but told the audience he had much more ideas for them and hoped to continue. On the evidence of the enjoyment the crowd had at this showing, they will be hoping for more of the same.

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