“The heart of the movie became these two little girls, representing two different views of femininity and attitudes towards females in that time period,” Wolfwalkers co-director and producer Tomm Moore said of the characters of Robyn Goodfellowe and Mebh Óg MacTíre in the Apple TV+ Oscar-nominated animated film. “I think it has a lot of resonance for little girls today — I hope so anyway.”
Moore’s comments came during Deadline’s Contenders Film: The Nominees awards-season virtual event, where he was joined by co-director Ross Stewart and producer Nora Twoney.
Nominated this year for Best Animated Feature and with voice-overs from the likes of Sean Bean and Simon McBurney, Apple Original Films’ Wolfwalkers debuted at the 2020 Toronto Film Festival and premiered on the streaming service December 11. Mixing real history based on the 17th century reign of English Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, some fantasy, those strong female leads and some amazing aesthetics, the hand-drawn animation is that rare beast that spans the ages and the generations, in more ways than one.
Contenders Film: The Nominees – Watch The Livestream
And it has been able to find an even greater audience thanks to its presence on Apple TV+.
“We’re an independent studio and we’ve always had difficulty making sure that our films are seen,” said Twoney of the advantage of Wolfwalkers being on Apple’s streaming platform. “You know, we’re good at making films, but getting them seen is a whole different thing. So, it’s been incredible the exposure we’ve gotten with this film because of Apple; [it] has been absolutely transformative for us.”
This is actually the third film in team’s self-described “Irish folklore trilogy” to be nominated for an Oscar. Back in 2010, the Moore- and Twoney-directed The Secret of Kells was up for Best Animated Feature. In 2015, Moore helmed Song of the Sea which also was nominated in the category.
This time around, Wolfwalkers certainly has extra bite with the thespian who portrayed Game of Thrones’ onetime King of the North onboard. Bean provides the voice for the Bill Goodfellowe, the cunning hunter and Robyn’s father.
“We were actually really really lucky that he said yes, because we had even designed Bill to look like Sean Bean from a couple of years before,” Stewart admitted of the casting of the Yorkshire native. “So, if he had said no, we might have had to redesign the whole character.”
Fortunately for Team Wolfwalkers and the film’s audience, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
Check back later for video of the panel.