Adam Elliot Discusses Sarah Snook Adult Stop-Motion Film Memoir of a Snail

Adam Elliot Discusses Sarah Snook Adult Stop-Motion Film Memoir of a Snail

Oscar-winning Australian director Adam Elliot has unveiled his much-anticipated second stop-motion feature, “Memoir of a Snail,” at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival. The film, set in 1970s Australia, features a star-studded cast led by Sarah Snook, known for her role in “Succession.” Snook voices Grace Puddle, a woman who finds solace in collecting snail memorabilia after enduring numerous emotional hardships.

Grace’s story is narrated to her pet garden snail, Sylvia. Throughout the film, she recounts her life’s challenges, from being born with a cleft palate to being separated from her eccentric family and experiencing heartbreak as an adult. One of the few bright spots in her life is Pinky, an eccentric old woman with a mysterious past, who encourages Grace to look forward rather than dwell on the past.

The voice cast also includes Jacki Weaver as Pinky, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Grace’s twin brother Gilbert, Eric Bana as a judge removed from his position for inappropriate behavior, and Nick Cave as a postman-poet who meets a tragic end. The film’s ensemble of quirky characters also features Grace’s foster parents, a cult leader, and a fiancé with sinister intentions.

“Memoir of a Snail” marks Elliot’s return to feature filmmaking after his 2009 animation “Mary and Max” and his Oscar-winning 2004 short “Harvey Krumpet.” In an interview at Annecy, Elliot discussed the film’s unique blend of whimsical visuals and dark adult themes. He emphasized that his films are often mistaken for children’s content due to their playful appearance, but they are intended for adult audiences.

Elliot revealed that Grace’s character is inspired by two real-life individuals: his mother, a reformed hoarder, and his friend Annalise, who underwent multiple surgeries for a cleft palate. He also mentioned that the character of Gilbert is a reflection of himself. While some elements of the story are based on real experiences, others, like the character of Pinky, are purely fictional.

Securing a high-profile cast for the film was made easier by the fact that many of the actors are from Melbourne and were familiar with Elliot’s work. Elliot had envisioned Sarah Snook for the role of Grace even before her rise to fame in “Succession.” Despite initial concerns that her busy schedule might prevent her from participating, Snook’s availability during a break in her career allowed her to join the project.

Nick Cave’s involvement as the voice of Pinky’s first husband came about serendipitously. Cave, intrigued by the unconventional nature of the project, agreed to participate after reviewing the offer among many others in London.

Elliot also shared his thoughts on the current state of stop-motion animation, noting that it is experiencing a resurgence thanks to filmmakers like Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, and Guillermo del Toro. He believes that the tactile, handmade quality of stop-motion offers a refreshing contrast to the abundance of CGI animation and resonates with audiences seeking authenticity.

The production of “Memoir of a Snail” took eight years, with delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the actual production time was relatively short for a stop-motion film, with a 32-week shoot. Elliot’s economical and minimal style of animation, which avoids complex lip-syncing and walking sequences, contributed to the efficiency of the production.

Looking ahead, Elliot expressed interest in creating a road film about a character traveling across Australia, potentially exploring the backstory of Pinky. However, the development of future projects will depend on the reception of “Memoir of a Snail.”

While Elliot is not focused on winning another Oscar, he is committed to supporting his crew, many of whom are emerging filmmakers. The film’s distributor, IFC, is optimistic about its prospects in the American market, noting a growing awareness and appreciation for adult animation.

“Memoir of a Snail” is a testament to Elliot’s distinctive storytelling style, blending humor and tragedy in a way that challenges and engages audiences. As the film begins its festival journey, it promises to leave a lasting impression with its unique blend of dark themes and whimsical charm.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top