Directed by Pierre Perifel, DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures’ animated feature film The Bad Guys took the audience on a fun-filled ride with its action crime comedy storyline. The feature is based on Aaron Blabey’s Scholastic books series for children of the same name and AnimationXpress got in touch with DreamWorks animator Prashanth Cavale to know what went into creating the animation film.
The Bad Guys tells us the story of a group of criminal animals who, upon being caught, pretend to attempt to reform themselves as model citizens, only for their leader to find himself genuinely drawn to changing his ways as a new villain has his own plans.
Talking about the animation style, Cavale shared, “The visual style of The Bad Guys makes it stand out from all other movies. When it comes to animating a character we always made sure that the characters don’t look cartoony, squashy or stretchy. We concentrated more on holding on the movements, and tried to emulate the feeling of comic strips. When you see the illustrations in the book, it would communicate everything that’s there in sentences and for some scenes we approached in a similar way. We often keep asking ourselves how we can communicate the idea with the least number of poses. As a result, when we started animating, the transitions became sharper, broader and it made it easier for us to move from one pose to another. Also there are bits in the movie where we enjoyed a lot while creating them. Overall it was a fun experience which took a lot of hard work and dedication to mimic the 2D animation.”
The Bad Guys features characters like Mr. Wolf (Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) and Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina). Shedding light on the characterisation of the film, Cavale added, “The most interesting part of the film is its characterisation. Each character in the film has its own mannerism. For example, Wolf is charming, charismatic leader and gentleman thief, the Snake is short tempered guy, then Piranha is a super-impulsive guy who doesn’t think before doing anything, Tarantula is the genius hacker of the team and Mr. Shark is the gentle giant of the group. So it was quite challenging and interesting to workout on the layouts and animatics of the films as we wanted to make every scene seamless.”
He also added, “I really enjoyed creating a variety of shots and got the opportunity to work on all the characters. I am fortunate that I get to work with different leads and to explore different styles of each character.”
The film contains some interesting and exciting action sequences as the troop sets off on the largest world heist. Cavale said, “When it comes to designing an action sequence, it depends a lot on how the boards are drafted and a lot of focus is kept on how we can grab the viewer’s eye. Action sequences are super-dynamic and it takes more effort to direct the eyes of the viewer as it contains faster cuts. Before creating animation for the film we worked more on compositing and staging to make the workflow easy during the production process. We played with the camera to create a more appealing realistic effect.”
Commenting on the growing real time technology, Cavale elaborated, “With realtime technology, the boundaries are broadening and the production process is becoming more easy. The artist probably needs to expand their sensibility apart from their primary responsibilities and make them flexible to work along with other departments. The pandemic has opened up things in a way that no one can imagine like remote collaboration is happening everywhere, studios are upgrading their technology and pipeline. In terms of content production, studios are producing global contents in a stylised way to reach diverse audiences.”
The animator is also working on the Puss in Boots which is set to release in September 2022. “Puss in the Boots is a charming film as it is the sequel to the original film released a decade ago. It has a lot of amazing characters and the trailer of the movie will be released very soon. Audience can experience a lot of visual enhancements,” said a happy Cavale.
The Bad Guys to release in theatres on 20th May 2022.