Cheetos, Tampons and Googly Eyes

by decwells
Cheetos, Tampons and Googly Eyes

When director Dean Fleischer Camp and star Jenny Slate wrote and produced their 2010 hit short film Marcel the Shell with Shoes, they The main character (voiced by Slater) was created as simply as possible. The tiny creature is made from a real seashell, doll shoes, a piece of clay and a gooey eye.

On June 24, puppet production lead Becky Van Cleve, who produced the short feature-length adaptation via A24 in theaters, made sure Marcel was always in sight as she worked to keep him Get ready for the big screen.

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“I put him on my desk, in a box,” says Van Cleve, who knows that in the long run this little guy needs to be made of stronger materials: Because real shells are a bit translucent, so They cannot withstand studio lighting. Van Cleve and her team chose to scan the original Marcel for inspiration, then recreated him using the digital sculpting software ZBrush, and then 3D printed him about 120 times for different scenes – each using different wires, hooks and holes , depending on whether Marcel is jumping in the air or pulling his pet lint on a leash made of one hair. (Named Alan, the animal is really just made of a piece of lint.)

“Marcel and his Nana Connie [voiced by Isabella Rossellini] Carefully sanded, anchored and meticulous until it’s all done,” says Maria Andreotti, Van Cleve’s builder colleague. “It takes about a day and a half to complete each puppet.they will be back [from the printer] With lines called stripes, we have an amazing team of puppet making sanding Marcels and Connies for days. “

A googly eye guide used on the set of

A googly eye guide used on the set of “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On”. – Credit: Becky Van Cleef

Becky Van Cleef

The staring eyes of the characters also require careful handling of the various versions. “If you just give them to animators, how are they [were], they won’t be able to use them because they move on their own,” Andreotti said. “So I took Google away from them. She cut each eye open and glued black dots in different places to create facial expressions before closing them.

Since Marcel’s footwear is such an integral part of his personality that it was enough to be the title of a movie, great care was taken to replicate its toy-like quality. Similar to seashells, Marcel’s shoes are 3D printed (although many of the background seashells have doll shoes). The extra crafting helps complement the sweet absurdity of the entire film.

“Dean wants us to get all their shoes dirty, because they only have one pair in their lives,” Van Cleve said with a smile. “Of course, they’ll be a little dirty.”

Becky Van Cleve, head of puppet production for

Becky Van Cleve, head of puppet production for “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.” – Credit: Maria Andreotti

Maria Andreotti

For shells not featured in the short film, puppet teams often refer to specific human references. “Like a master,” Andreotti said of Marcel’s singing teacher, voiced by Peter Bonazzi. “We will show [Camp] Five or six different versions, he’d say, ‘Give me a little Eugene Levy. ‘”

The film also showcases critters beyond the shell, such as the “Pistachio Cousins” affectionately named by Van Cleef and Andreaotti. Those were made with real pistachio shells, although the nuts were removed and replaced with manual iterations before the scaled-down version of the Marcel shoe was wired to the bottom. Other treats that appear on screen include pretzels and Cheetos made of resin, as well as completely real Cheetos.

Pistachio puppets for

Pistachio puppets for “Marcel Shells in Shoes”. – Credit: Maria Andreotti

Maria Andreotti

Left on the cutting room floor was the poor Tampoodle—a dog with a tampon for his body, a cotton ball for his head, and a swab for his feet.

“I tried really hard to get her into the movie, and Dean wanted her!” Van Cleef said. “But she’s too complicated.”

While the omission of the Tampoodle is tragic, the reason behind it is part of what makes “Marcel the Shoes with Shoes On” so visually appealing.

“Marcel has eyes, clay, shells and shoes. So the rule is: no one can have more than four elements,” explains Van Cleve. “Each time is an easy victory.”

Tampoodle, an unused puppet from

Tampoodle, an unused puppet from “Marcel Shell in Shoes”. – Credit: Becky Van Cleef

Becky Van Cleef

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