PETER & THE WOLF Reimagined By Gavin Friday And Bono For Max And Cartoon Network
Max and Cartoon Network have greenlit an animated rendition of the beloved classic tale PETER & THE WOLF featuring music and narration by Gavin Friday, and artwork based on original illustrations by Bono. The special transforms Sergei Prokofiev’s much-loved symphony into an enchanting and contemporary visual masterpiece that touches on themes of growing up, loss, courage, transformation, and our relationship with nature. The animated short film is scheduled to premiere later this year and is part of an ongoing relationship with Irish Hospice Foundation.
The uniquely creative project is led by musician and composer Gavin Friday and saw him narrate the reimagined classic tale with The Friday Seezer Ensemble performing Prokofiev score, newly arranged by Maurice Seezer and Gavin Friday.
The artwork seen throughout the film is based on original illustrations by Gavin Friday’s longtime friend and collaborator, Bono, from his book of the same name.
Featuring a special juxtaposition of traditional hand-drawn 2D animation combined with a physical set-built world, this reimagined classic tale follows a grieving 12-year-old Peter who is now in the care of his grandfather after enduring the loss of a parent. Upon hearing stories of a wolf on the loose, Peter decides to explore the vast meadow and forest nearby to try and find the wolf himself. Along the way he encounters creatures who help him on his quest while contending with hunters aiming to win a prize for capturing the wolf.
“The messaging of vigilance, bravery, and resilience that were core to the original symphony are still echoed throughout our interpretation, but we spin a traditional fairy tale into a unique adaptation that also incorporates the topic of loss, redemption, and recovery,” said Gavin Friday and Bono. “It’s our hope that this ‘Peter & the Wolf’ becomes a balm for any child dealing with loss, alongside exposing and captivating them into the wonderful and musical world of Prokofiev.”
Irish Hospice Foundation
The project was originally developed in 2003 by Gavin Friday and Bono in support of Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), a national charity supporting those facing dying, death and bereavement. IHF began with the aim to extend availability of hospice services across the country and has now grown to develop programs in education, research and bereavement services. The ‘Peter & the Wolf” team have worked closely with Irish Hospice Foundation on this project, with IHF advising on how best to represent the story’s sensitive themes of bereavement and loss with authenticity and thoughtfulness.
When we meet Peter, he’s an angsty adolescent, but over the course of the story, a lighthearted side emerges along with his resourcefulness and determination to uncover a thoughtful and very human side of him. Each character in this telling of “Peter & the Wolf” represents different aspects of Peter, with the Wolf embodying his relationship with grief and the unknown, his grandfather representing his connection to family and the forest creatures who capture the comedy, naivety and carefree elements of childhood.
“The emotion and artistry that Gavin has created in this modern retelling of ‘Peter & the Wolf’ brings a sense of fearlessness and style this story has never seen before,” said Michael Ouweleen, president, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Discovery Family, and Boomerang. “We think this slightly punk rock version of the timeless classic fuses beautifully for every audience, and we are honored that Bono and Gavin have entrusted us as the home to share such a personal journey.”
Mixed media approach
To reflect the unique nature of the project Blink Industries developed a mixed media approach to the production of “Peter & the Wolf” that embraced the 2D roots of Bono’s original designs while creating a tangible, immersive and atmospheric world for Peter and his cohorts. The monochromatic rendering of the film adds to the timeless quality of the piece.
Working with their extensive team of model makers, directors Stephen McNally and Elliot Dear built and filmed all the environments as miniatures in their studio in London before seamlessly compositing the 2D hand-drawn character animation into the world. An ingenious interplay of the 2D drawings with light and shade from the physical world blends the interaction between animated characters and model made environments.
The alchemy of the magic and nostalgia of 2D animation and the tactility and warmth of the physical sets creates a film that feels utterly unlike anything else.
“Peter & the Wolf” is produced by BMG and Blink Industries and executive produced by Alistair Norbury & Stuart Souter for BMG, Benjamin Lole & James Stevenson Bretton at Blink Industries
Blink Industries’ Elliot Dear and Stephen McNally are Directors, and the producer is Adriana Piasek-Wanski.