Chickens Are Heroes, Too 

Sam and Maggie Talk with the Directors of Chicken Run

CHICKEN RUN is about chickens trying to escape. It is very funny and exciting. Each chicken has a great sense of humor and is weird. Rocky is a lazy liar, and Ginger is a determined and nice chicken. There is another chicken who loves to knit; if you look at her, she'll definitely be knitting.

Mrs. Tweedy (the farmer's wife) has a machine that lets chickens go in, but pies come out. The chickens do whatever they can to resist becoming pies.

After seeing the movie, we sat down to talk with Nick Park and Peter Lord, the creators of Chicken Run (and Wallace and Grommit). They were both very funny and nice.

Sam: Did you do the claymaking stuff, or was that other people?

Peter: The puppets? We modeled them in clay, but other people did the really technical model-making.

Maggie: Why did you kill a chicken in the movie?

Nick: We had to make it so those chickens really wanted to leave that place. So we thought, what better reason than if the farmers are going to kill them?

Maggie: How long did it take to make Chicken Run?

Nick: 18 months. But Peter and I had the idea over four years ago.

Sam: Was it hard to be patient?

Peter: Yes! But it's great, because you're making something come to life, which is the most exciting thing in the world.

Maggie: Why did you make the movie with chickens, instead of dogs?

Nick: Well, chickens are such funny animals. Everybody laughs when you say "chicken."

Maggie: You put dogs in it, though.

Nick: Yeah, we did. There's dogs. But we thought it would be funny when people realized, "Wait a minute! We're being entertained by chickens!"

Maggie: And chickens are so stupid.

Peter: That's right, but it's unfair that everybody thinks chickens are stupid and cowardly--chickens are heroes too.

Sam: To make the chickens, or Wallace & Grommits, did you know anyone named Wallace or Grommit, or did you know the main chicken woman [Ginger]?

Nick: Wallace and Grommit are just imagined. But my dad's a lot like Wallace. He's always in the shed making things.

Peter: And Julia [Sawalha] is quite like Ginger.

Sam: Who's Julia?

Peter: There's a show in England called Absolutely Fabulous, which stars Julia Sawalha, who plays a girl named Sapphy, and she's got a great voice, so we decided to use her as Ginger.

Maggie: Does she have a green hat? [Ginger wears a green cap in the film.]

Peter: A green hat… no.

Nick: I thought it would be great if a girl was the hero, because in other movies, it's all about a guy who saves everybody.

Sam: Like Rocky? [Rocky--voiced by Mel Gibson--is a rooster who, at first, seems to be their ticket to freedom.]

Peter: Well, actually, at the crucial point, Rocky just takes off. Everyone thinks he's going to be the hero, because he's noisy, and you know

Maggie: Obnoxious.

Peter: Yes.

Maggie: Why did you make a children's movie instead of a grownup's movie?

Peter: It is a grownup's movie.

Maggie: But, children like it.

Sam: Yeah, I think kids would like it more than grownups.

Peter: Yes, but we thought, "What would we want to see in a movie?" And the answer is, of course, chickens!

Nick: We wanted a movie that parents would take their kids to, but secretly, it's the parents who really want to see it.

Maggie: Are you going on a vacation with all the money you made?

Nick: Absolutely! You need time to relax and to think up another good idea.

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