Chicken Run

USA/UK 2000, 84 mins
Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park

What’s it about?
A group of chickens living on an egg farm find themselves in hot water when the farmer decides that a new line of chicken pies might be good for business. Before long, an escape plan is hatched! This fun take on The Great Escape was Aardman’s first feature film and is still just as fresh, plucky and creative as it was 21 years ago.

Making ‘Chicken Run’
A huge set was built to create the world of the chicken farm depicted in the film. The main farm area was 60 feet long. The corrugated roofing on the huts was created by putting tin sheets into two serrated rollers. The barbed wire around the chicken yard was manufactured by winding wire onto a board with pegs and adding tiny, twisted barbs. The backgrounds were painted onto stretched canvas.

The greatest challenge to the filmmakers was creating the chickens in the film. ‘The idea of chickens with fat round bodies standing on spindly little legs gave us pause,’ says director/producer Nick Park. ‘And feathers,’ director/producer Peter Lord adds. ‘We realised you can’t do feathers in plasticine, you can’t do thin legs, and the bodies were going to weigh a ton.’ After much experimenting by the animators, they created plasticine sculptures and from these they created moulds in order to make latex skins. They then fitted these skins over silicone body shapes which contained the intricate skeletal body that was needed for the figures to be moved. 430 different chicken models were used in the film.

The film itself was made by 40 animators who were split into two teams and guided by the directors. If you consider that there are 24 frames of film time per second, it is possible that each character would have to be moved 24 times for each second of film along with props and scenery.

Did you know?
3,500 kg of plasticine was used during the making of the film. A total of 60 colours were used. Each character’s colour is individually blended and mixed in a converted chewing gum machine.

563 plasticine puppets were made for the film.

The models are made of a special blend of plasticine called the Aardman Mix. This is tougher and more durable than ordinary plasticine. Aardman is the name of the studios that made the film Chicken Run along with the Wallace and Gromit films.

Notes by Justin Johnson

Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park
©/Production Companies: DreamWorks LLC, Aardman Chicken Run Limited, Pathé Image
Production Company: Aardman Animations
Executive Producers: Jake Eberts, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Rose
Producers: Peter Lord, David Sproxton, Nick Park
Line Producer: Carla Shelley
Associate Producer: Lenny Young
Production Manager: Harry Linden
Post-production Supervisor: Mike Solinger
1st Assistant Director: Fred De Bradeny
2nd Assistant Directors: Robert Hurley, Rich Priestley
3rd Assistant Director: Will Norie
Story/Continuity Supervisor: Bridget Mazzey
Casting: Patsy Pollock
Screenplay: Karey Kirkpatrick
Storyboard Supervisor: David Bowers
Storyboard Artist: Michael Salter
Script Collaborator: Pete Atkin
Additional Dialogue: Mark Burton, John O’Farrell
Based on an original story by: Nick Park, Peter Lord
Supervising Director of Photography: Dave Alex Riddett
Directors of Photography: Tristan Oliver, Frank Passingham
Lighting Cameramen: Simon Jacobs, Andy Mack, Paul Smith
Digital Visual Effects: The Computer Film Company
Model Production Designer: Jan Sanger
Graphic Artists: John Davey, Alastair Green, Joanne Smith
Supervising Animator: Loyd Price
Editor: Mark Solomon
Film Editors: Robert Francis, Tamsin Parry
Production Designer: Phil Lewis
Art Director: Tim Farrington
Props Supervisor: Jane Kite
Pie Machine and Flying Machine by: Farrington Lewis
Title Design: The Picture Mill
Music: John Powell, Harry Gregson-Williams
Additional Music: Steve Jablonsky, James McKee Smith, Geoff Zanelli
Orchestrations: Bruce Fowler, Harry Kim
Music Supervisor: Marylata E. Jacob
Re-recording Mixer: Adrian Rhodes
Supervising Sound Editors: Graham Headicar, James Mather

Voice Cast
Phil Daniels (Fetcher)
Lynn Ferguson (Mac)
Mel Gibson (Rocky)
Tony Haygarth (Mr Tweedy)
Jane Horrocks (Babs)
Miranda Richardson (Mrs Tweedy)
Julia Sawalha (Ginger)
Timothy Spall (Nick)
Imelda Staunton (Bunty)
Benjamin Whitrow (Fowler)
John Sharian (circus man)
Jo Allen, Lisa Kay, Laura Strachan (additional chickens)

USA/UK 2000©
84 mins

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
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