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Moby Dick: The Legend Returns (Moby Dick: Die Legende kehrt zurueck)

Moby Dick: The Legend Returns
Scene from “Moby Dick: The Legend Returns“

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 03/2002

The world’s fascination with Moby Dick has been constant since its creation by Herman Melville in 1850, but Trixter Film’s retelling of this tale is based on Patricia Highsmith’s novella Moby Dick or The Missile Whale.

The story here follows the odyssey of the fiercely independent and talented young pilot Frances and a young Inuk named Anuk on the trail of the legendary whale. After a bank has seized her treasured biplane, Frances soon finds out that it is to be used as a spotter plane on “The Dominator” which is setting out on an expedition to find Moby Dick. But the shaman of Anuk’s tribe has had a terrible vision: someone wants to kill the great white whale. Although he detests white men’s killing machines, Anuk signs up for the ship’s crew, determined to protect Moby Dick from all harm…

“Patricia Highsmith gave us the possibilities and inspiration to experience Herman Melville’s original story in a different way”, declares producer-director Michael Coldewey. “The heavy darkness of the original is loosened up by the new perspective. The target group is quite clearly the family”.

Structured as a German-Irish-Swedish co-production, the ambitious project will see Trixter working with Ireland’s Terraglyph (also co-producers on Help, I’m A Fish!/Hilfe, ich bin ein Fisch!, 2000) and Sweden’s Happy Life Animation, who will do part of their workload out of their Berlin studios.

While computers will be used to generate the whale, the water effects and backgrounds, Coldewey will rely on the traditional form of hand-drawn animation for the human figures.

“With Spirit and Lilo & Stitch, people have said that animation is dead”, Coldewey declares, “but we don’t want our human characters to look like something from Final Fantasy. The classical way evokes more emotion”.

In addition, Trixter wants the animation on Moby Dick to all be done in Europe. “I want the acting of the characters to correspond to our European mentality”, Coldewey explains. “You can’t have a Norwegian captain animated by a Korean because animators always copy themselves”.
Genre Literature, Animation
Category Feature
Year of Production 2002
Directors Michael Coldewey, Juergen Richter
Screenplay Marcus Fleming
Producers Michael Coldewey, Gerry Shirren, Peter Gustafsson
Voice Jürgen Prochnow
Production Company TRIXTER Productions/Munich, in co-production with Terraglyph Productions/Dublin, Happy Life Animation/Stockholm
Shooting Dates animation studios in Germany, Ireland and Sweden, 2002-2004
With backing from FilmFernsehFonds Bayern, Irish Film Board