It takes something a little special to come from outside cartoon giants Pixar and DreamWorks and make a splash in the race for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards. Pixar have won the prize six out of eleven years, and of the winners, only Hiyao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away," which picked up the gold in 2003, was produced outside the U.S. But make no mistake, French animator Sylvain Chomet is something a little special.
The filmmaker, who started out as a comics writer now has two nominations in the category, for "The Triplets of Belleville" (aka "Belleville Rendez-Vous") in 2004, and "The Illusionist" in 2011, and while the films were pipped at the post to the prize (by "Finding Nemo" and "Toy Story 3" respectively), he's established himself as one of the most original, enjoyable and moving voices in the world of animated film. "The Illusionist," a tribute to the great Jacques Tati, didn't quite have the cult success of "The Triplets of Belleville," but it looks as though Chomet might be going back to the well, as Screen Daily reports that the director is currently in the early stages of working on a prequel to his breakthrough hit.
The film will be entitled "Swing Poppa Swing" (Screen Daily list it with only one p, but we're making an educated guess that it's a typo), and will focus on the early lives of the titular elderly singing triplets who featured in the earlier film, (and whose song, "Belleville Rendez-Vous," also got an Oscar nod). Chomet has a treatment for the project, and designed a number of new characters, and is currently working on a script, which he's meant to deliver in the summer. Les Armateurs, who were behind the original, and also "Ernest & Celestine," which will premiere at Cannes this week, are backing the project. Given the timeframes on animated projects, it's likely 2014 or 2015 at the earliest before we see this, but it's good to know a new film from Chomet is in the works. Watch the trailer for the original below for a little reminder.