Despite beginning his carrer as an Editor, it is his innovation and talent which made Dean Fleischer-Camp an award-winning Filmmaker and New York Times Best-Selling Author. Together with Actress/Comedian and Author Jenny Slate, he crafted the beloved Character Marcel the Shell, which would go on to become a viral sensation.
The tiny anthromorphic seashell with one single eye and a gentle spirit, has charmed audiences around the world in a series of YouTube Shorts and a Book, and now comes a Stop-Motion Animated Featured made a in Mockumentary style, giving the little guy a huge platform for the rest of the world to fall in love with him as well.
It was wonderful chatting with Fleischer-Camp about MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON, which he directs, co-writes, produces and also appears in. It was also just announced today he will be directing the upcoming live-action Lilo & Stitch film! After garnering universal acclaim on the Festival circuit and in limited release, the Film now expands wide this weekend.
We ask Fleischer-Camp about his own reaction to the amazing reactions MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON has received. Even icon Cher has sung its praises on Twitter!
Fleischer-Camp: “It’s been amazing. It’s been so fun to talk with people and sorta surreal for me. I don’t know if you’ve ever worked on something for seven years in a vaccum, but I remember when we premiered it at Telluride and we started hearing laughter and crying. It was just so moving and surprising. That joke I told three-and-a-half years ago is really funny and gets a big laugh. It’s thrilling. The memes people have been making and I’m just so grateful for the entire experience.”.
Fleischer-Camp talks about whether or not from the start it was his and Jenny Slate‘s intention to explore the prism of life through Marcel, seeing how the Film ponders mortality and life.
Fleischer-Camp: “The first Short was made in 48 hours. Jenny and I wrote it very quickly. She improvised and I crafted the Character very quickly. It was all a rush and we did it on a whim. What we realized once we saw the response and we made a few more Shorts, was that this Character is so much richer and deeper than he appears. There was so much more to explore about him. There was such a rich, inner-life and it always feel like a total pleasure to write for this Chracter and create stories for him. I feel like I’m just as moved and inspired by him and his circumstances and approach to life as anyone.”.
The Film touches upon life and death, and he’s asked about the choice to explore darker themes.
Fleischer-Camp: “You can’t really have the happines and nectar of life if you haven’t processed the grief of it. I was interested in portraying pain, grief and loss, which are an inherent part in the cycle of life. You can’t create the new growth without death and decay. Those things enrich the soil that growth sprouts from.”.
Fleischer-Camp talks about the decision to release the Film independently after having had early talks with bigger studiosabout expanding Marcel the Shell‘s Brand.
Fleischer-Camp: “When something goes viral on the Internet, you can get meetings with Studios. They want to license your Character to make something that’s more familiar, a tent-pole movie or a franchise. Going through that process, it was really recognizable. I was really young and they’re not going to trust me and I realized I’m going to have to make this Movie indpendently and it’s going to take a long time. We found right supporters creatively and financially that could expand Marcel, holistic to the Character that we made.”.
He isn’t quite sure yet what the future might hold for Marcel the Shell, but does drop a hint.
Fleischer-Camp: “I don’t know what the future holds for Marcel, but I hope a lot. After the Film comes out, the audience that might want to see a Sequel, more Shorts or a TV Series or what. I’ll continue to explore the Character in a way that’s fun, cool and chill for me and Jenny. We created this whole community only in the last three minutes of the Movie – spoiler alert. I was so sad watching it, how we’ve fleshed-out all these great characters, including Canuck Nathan Fielder as Voice Talent. I hope we get a chance to explore those characters as well. Is Canuck a slur or a bad word?”.
MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON expands Friday, July 15, 2022 via Elevation Pictures in Canada.