SDCC 2009: We Talk '9' with Director Shane Acker


Humanity's legacy faces extinction in the post-apocalyptic world of 9, the new animated film about a group of rag dolls forced to battle all manner of weird monster. We sat down yesterday with director Shane Acker, and he told us what attracted producer Tim Burton to his bizarre universe. Find out what he had to say after the jump.

"I think," Acker told us, "[Tim Burton lent his name to the project] because of the visual style of the film, the design aesthetic ad the fact that it's trying to do something different and new with the animated medium for the western audience. He really redefined stop-motion animation for the American audience and he's always trying to push the boundaries and the limits, so I think there was something about this that provoked him in some way."

We asked Acker what horror films informed 9.

"It's gothic more than dark," he said. "The backdrop is a destroyed world, but we're trying to find beauty and imagination in that world rather than [focus on] how depressing it all is. I grew up watching horror films, but remember – these are the horror films of the ‘80s, horror films that have a kind of fantastical element to them. I love the creatures and the mythology that was behind them. It's not these kinds of slasher/torture films which, frankly, I don't get it. It doesn't do anything for me. There's nothing ultimately that creative about them. I like design and I like fantasy and I think that's what I grew up with. John Carpenter's The Thing, I think, is just a seminal movie for me, a touchstone movie, a perfect movie in some sense. So that's what I draw inspiration from. And people say, ‘Oh they're horror, they're dark,' but I think they're fun and they're exciting and they're really creative and they're fantasy. It's just my sensibility, but, yeah, those are the kinds of worlds I like to explore."