Animator accuses Hollywood of spying

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The Independent Culture

A new and bizarre form of industrial spy has emerged - the animation infiltrator. He must be obsessive, devious and very patient - memorising the most tortuously detailed techniques in the movie business.

A new and bizarre form of industrial spy has emerged - the animation infiltrator. He must be obsessive, devious and very patient - memorising the most tortuously detailed techniques in the movie business.

The latest victim is the Bristol-based maker of the international hit film Chicken Run.

In a development which could form the plot of a future movie, Hollywood spies are said to have infiltrated the studios of Aardman Animations to find out the secrets of its success. The company, which was also responsible for the award-winning Wallace and Gromit, admitted yesterday that it had suffered industrial espionage.

Richard Goleszowskoi, the producer on the next Aardman film, said: "It's crazy. We've had people trying to come in and pretend they work here just to get information. It's proper espionage."

No one else at Aardman would give more details. A spokeswoman said: "It's pretty secret stuff we do here, and we have very tight security."

The message any spies will be able to take back to America is that the British company will move away from new material and return to traditional children's stories.

Aardman is to follow Chicken Run with The Tortoise And The Hare. But it will rework Aesop's fable, setting it in Bristol, or rather a land called Aesop-on Avon. The full-length feature includes Morris the Tortoise and his Welsh fitness trainer, Taffy the Hampster - voiced by the actor Bob Hoskins. The story will be narrated by two pub bores.

Mr Goleszowskoi said: "A lot of British life revolves around the local pub and we wanted to make sure the film has a real British feel."

But he admitted that the production also had a Hollywood influence: "The animation is kind of inspired by Rocky but this takes it much further."

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