“Beasts” Animator Talks Bringing the Creatures to Life
Though he may not be a household name in the Potterverse, Pablo Grillo has been a part of the wizarding world family since Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released in 2002, being an animator on not only Chamber of Secrets but also Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Deathly Hallows – Part 1 . His impressive portfolio includes over 14 animation credits, including the Academy Award-winning film The Golden Compass. More recently, he received a BAFTA nomination for his work on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!
Grillo recently sat down and talked about the process of animating the fantastic beasts and what it takes to create the creatures’ final images.
We were put in charge of overseeing how the animals were going to grow into real characters, and not just the flat images we drew them as. We went through months of creating situations and funny moments with David and the producers, before chiseling it down to the batch that made it into the final film. From there we could start to formulate behavior, or visual gags, and how we could build them into the big set pieces – little quirks actually informed the final script. It was an incredibly fulfilling process overall – mainly because of the challenges open to us.
Grillo went on to add that one of the hardest parts about animating the beasts was developing the intimacy that comes with them. We all know how much Newt adorably loves all his creatures with all his heart, but creating a bond in an animated creature with a real-life actor proved to be a daunting task, even for the most experienced animators.
Quite quickly we’d get an impression of whether they would work anatomically, but it took longer to being feel their places as performers in the film and whether audiences would engage with them.
The animator stated that working on the Potter films meant constantly pushing the boundaries and taking more and more steps as they learned what makes a creature more lifelike.
As for what animation innovation he’d like to see more of? The use of augmented reality on set. For those of you unaware, it would mean that a cameraman can simply look into his camera and see the creature or animation in live time.
Grillo is currently wrapping up production on Paddington 2. We can’t wait to see what he does next!
Which beast is your favorite from Fantastic Beasts? What did you think of the animations? Let us know in the comments below!