Everyone has heard of the stories about the pied piper and the town full of rodents. So, Maurice has found his very own pied piper and a plague of rats to trick gullible townsfolk into giving him lots of cash.
All is going well until they arrive in the far-flung village of Bad Blintz where they meet a book obsessed girl called Malicia, who enlists their help to solve the mystery of her town ...
My enthusiasm for this book notwithstanding, a story as extraordinary as this begs the question: how to make it family-friendly? This question has been answered skillfully by scriptwriter, Terry Rossio. He has succeeded in capturing, distilling, and bringing to the page the original, effortlessly cool and subtle humour of Pratchett. For the production, it was by using Pratchett’s atypical sense-of-humour and then carefully editing the visual elements to moderate the darker aspects of the story that we could ensure the film lands as family entertainment without losing the notorious Terry Pratchett edge.
Visually, this was achieved by using from the get-go bright colours and upbeat music – for example, the opening scene of the village and the appearance of the rats is comic and fast paced. The sheer joy that the rats take in their work – tap dancing in the butter and blowing raspberries at the villagers – will immediately allow our audience to appreciate the fun and mischief behind their scam. Where we head into darker elements of the story, we do not shy away from these, but Pratchett’s comic twist is apparent, ensuring the audience appreciates our hero’s jeopardy while laughing at the bumbling antics of the henchmen rat catchers and dogs, who, while enthusiastic, manage to convey their ineptitude rather than menace.
The international audience is expecting a lot from a Terry Pratchett movie and we will not disappoint. We created a piece that delivers on the promise of the novel in its visual and narrative vigour. I’m always impressed with how Pratchett manages to be casual and light-hearted yet, at the same time, unyielding, critical and edgy. This is exactly the spirit we brought to our film.
The visual and audio levels work in absolute harmony. I am overjoyed to have found the perfect partners in Terry Rossio’s scriptwriting alongside Carter Goodrich’s initial character designs harnessed to Production & Character Designer and Art Director Heiko Hentschel’s brilliant visual sense. These partners are just as passionate about understanding the spirit of Pratchett as I am and delivering at the same level.
We placed equally high demands on sound, with voice casting and voice directing playing a particularly important role. Such brilliantly written characters demand actors that stand up to this high level of quality and our cast sure does! In the score, too, we found a composer, Tom Howe, who understands the world of the film as vividly as we do.
To say I am excited about this production is an under-statement. I feel as if I have been preparing for a film like this my whole life. I am ready to introduce a whole new generation of people to Terry Pratchett’s enthralling imagination.
Cast & Crew
Directed by: Toby Genkel
Written by: Terry Rossio
Produced by: Emely Christians, Andrew Baker, Robert Chandler
Cinematography: Faraz Hameed
Editing: Friedolin Dreesen
Production Design: Heiko Hentschel
Original Score: Tom Howe
Sound: Matt Baird, Michal Maletz
Visual Effects: Andre Correia
Casting: Jemima McWilliams, Debbie McWilliams
Nominations and Awards
- European Animated Feature Film 2023