Interview

Ben Stassen: “We Had to Be Technically Perfect”

With “Royal Corgi”, the longtime animation filmmaker Ben Stassen presents the dog of the British Queen. His name is Rex and he’s pretty arrogant – until he ends up on the street and has to change his ways.

What criteria did you use when searching out ideas you want to work on?
Ben Stassen: The most important thing, of course, is that the story is interesting. After that, we need relatable characters that will especially appeal to a young audience. In the first half of ‘Royal Corgi’, Rex is pretty arrogant and inconsiderate. He takes advantage of his royal position and acts like a star, but then his personal journey begins: he is the victim of an intrigue, gets thrown out of Buckingham Palace, and suddenly is left on his own. So it happens that the viewer ends up feeling sympathy for him, because he learns from his mistakes and matures.

How does a tight budget affect a movie like “Royal Corgi”?
Ben Stassen: We want to make animated films for the international market. Technically, our films have to be perfect. This isn’t easy on a small budget. So we always have to think about the most effective way to spend the money.

Has your company nWave Pictures developed its own animation style?
Ben Stassen: I think we attach great importance to realism. For “Royal Corgi”, the team often worked with photographic models, such as the exterior and interiors of Buckingham Palace. We also took advantage of the film made with Daniel Craig for the Olympic Games in London, because it shows him walking down a corridor next to the Queen and her dogs. This corridor became one of the main elements for the backgrounds of our film. We sought to do the Queen’s palace and the corgis justice. We wanted to avoid the over-stylisation that is typical for many Hollywood productions.