From pandemic-induced supply chain backlogs to film stock manufacturing crises, great filmmakers have often been forced to navigate the occasional raw materials shortage. And few filmmaking operations are as reliant on a single material as Aardman Animation is on modeling clay.

A recent report in The Daily Telegraph sent stop-motion animation fans into a panic by saying that the “Wallace and Gromit” studio only had enough modeling clay for one more film. The report indicated that the British studio had yet to find a new source of clay after its primary supplier, Newclay Products, recently shut down.

The public concern became so overwhelming that the studio was forced to release a public statement on X to reassure fans. While Aardman did not share specifics, the legendary stop-motion animation house indicated that it has plans in place to ensure a smooth transition to a new clay pipeline.

“We are touched about recent concern over the future of our beloved clay creations, but wanted to reassure fans that there is absolutely no need to worry,” Aardman Animations said in a statement. “We have high levels of existing stocks of modeling clay to service current and future productions and, much like Wallace in his workshop, we have been tinkering away behind the scenes for quite some time with plans in place to ensure a smooth transition to new stocks to continue to make our iconic productions.”

Next month will see Netflix release Aardman’s long-awaited sequel, “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.” The film, which is inspired by espionage franchises like “Mission: Impossible,” picks up where Peter Lord and Nick Park’s beloved stop-motion film left off 20 years after its initial release.

“No one watches an Aardman film for gritty character drama or commentary on modern life, that stuff is only ever window-dressing. The true artful allure is in the physical world-building and this is where ‘Dawn of the Nugget’ (could it not have been named something less distracting?) comes into its own,” Sophie Monks Kaufman wrote in her IndieWire review of the film. “Set-pieces that show the chomping metal teeth threatening to transform our heroes into a steaming box of delicious breadcrumb-clad nibbles reveal what this animation studio has always done best.” 

Leave a comment