Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Creating 'The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run' in the Era of Quarantine


President of Paramount Animation Mireille Soria on bringing the comedy and genuineness of SpongeBob SquarePants to life during these uncertain times.

In Making it Work, creatives and decision-makers from across ViacomCBS describe how they turned an idea into a reality.

In this installment, Mireille Soria, president of Paramount Animation, explains how the studio seamlessly shifted to an all-remote workplace and how SpongeBob is keeping them motivated.

"At Paramount Animation, we’ve always made movies in the computer. The studio is in a unique position because we already work remotely with a lot of artists around the world and now, with everyone working from home, it’s not so much a change as it is an acceleration of where our industry was already headed.

"We have four films on track in production and pre-production right now—one of which is Sponge On The Run—an animated feature based on the Nickelodeon franchise SpongeBob SquarePants—which is being made in collaboration with our team in L.A. and a group of about 100 crew in Montreal who are finishing the movie. The shining light in all this madness is the character of SpongeBob. His optimism, comedy, and heartwarming nature are truly a great inspiration for us as we navigate this new way of life.

"As for the progress of the film, we finished the animation so now there are around a hundred people working on the lighting and compositing. We’re also in the process of working on the music with Hans Zimmer and his collaborator, Steve Mazzaro. Hans is an amazing composer and musician and he also has these unbelievable resources. We just love working with him.

"He’s been calling on these brilliant world-class musicians to work on Sponge On The Run to record at their home studios and send us the music. That’s an idea that he had in the very beginning. He did it on Sherlock Holmes and Lion King. It isn’t an unusual concept, but I think with the coronavirus and social distancing, we’ve been able to really embrace that approach. So far, it’s been an advantage, I have to say.


"What I love about working on this movie is that we’re really making it a love letter to SpongeBob SquarePants creator Stephen Hillenburg. (Hillenburg died from complications of ALS in 2018.) We’re also remaining true to the spirit of SpongeBob. We’re making sure that it has the level of comedy to which Steve was always committed, and even more so now knowing that we need to laugh together.

"The initial release date of Sponge on The Run was slated for May, but with the uncertainty of theaters reopening, Paramount Pictures decided to push the premiere to August 7th. I think we will get back to normal, though it might be a slightly different normal. People will always want to go out and people will always want to go to the movies and be entertained. And, I think particularly after being at home, people will want to go out to laugh and be inspired. That’s my hope."

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run swims into theatres on Friday, August 7, 2020.

In The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, when Gary is snailnapped, SpongeBob and Patrick embark on a hilarious adventure to #SaveGary!

SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny), his best friend Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke) and the rest of the gang from Bikini Bottom hit the big screen in the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event. After SpongeBob’s beloved pet snail Gary is snail-napped, he and Patrick embark on an epic adventure to The Lost City of Atlantic City to bring Gary home. As they navigate the delights and dangers on this perilous and hilarious rescue mission, SpongeBob and his pals prove there’s nothing stronger than the power of friendship.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will feature a raft of guest stars, including: Keanu Reeves (as a tumbleweed named Sage), Awkwafina, Reggie Watts and Snoop Dog. Cyndi Lauper (The SpongeBob Musical) has written original songs for the film.

Based on the TV series created by Stephen Hillenburg, The SpongeBob Movie is produced by Ryan Harris, with Stephen Hillenburg exec producing. Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Movies present, in association with MRC A United Plankton Pictures production. Written and directed by Tim Hill. An actor named Antonio Raul Corbo will be voicing young SpongeBob.

More Nick: Nickelodeon Announces Voice Cast for 'Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years', First-Ever 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Spinoff!

Originally published: Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
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