Director Carlos Saldanha’s latest animation, Ferdinand, marks a shift in tone. After the vibrant colours of his two Rio movies and the comic action of Ice Age, we’re presented with the story of a gentle giant, a Spanish bull who doesn’t want to fight.
Based on a children’s book from the 1930s – one that was banned in Spain and ordered by Hitler to be burnt because of its pacifist stance – it tells the story of Ferdinand (voiced by John Cena), the bull who would rather smell the flowers than take his place in the bull ring. For Saldanha, it was a project that took a number of years to develop – or, as he told the family audience at a pre-release screening, longer than many of them had been alive!
Talking to Flickering Myth’s Freda Cooper, he revealed the screening was the first time he had seen his film alongside parents and children – and he was more than a little nervous about it.
The book’s essential story arrives on screen with more characters – such as Lupe the goat (the voice of Kate McKinnon) and Angus, the bull from Aberdeen (voiced by David Tennant) – and expands it with new storylines and scenes. Saldanha explained that they were all inspired by the character of Ferdinand himself, and all helped with the movie’s contemporary message of being true to yourself.
An animation specialist, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of doing a live action film, or a hybrid, if the opportunity comes along. In his own words he’s “up for it.”
Ferdinand is out in UK cinemas on 16th December. Read our review here.
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