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Clive Smith
"We certainly had a great team in those days, we had fabulous animators, and because we were all learning... it was something really brand new."
Emru Townsend: So whatís going on with Rock & Rule now? Any attempts at a new release? It just seems to me that the art house circuit seems to be reasonably lucrative for animation. Heavy Metal is constantly showing, Akira is constantly showing, all these new Japanese [animated] films are constantly showing...

Clive Smith: We donít have any firm plans for it, but we do know that, yes, it will see the light of day again, and we will re-release it in one form or another. Whether itís a theatrical release--I know Iím not sure if that would work. But itíll certainly become more accessible to the public, once we make a decision. But I would definitely be happy to see it circulate.

This reminds me... back on the subject of having the different edits. The [video edit] says "Nelvana presents" at the beginning, the one from the CBC says "A Dratsco production".

Well, Drats! was the working title of the film. Let me tell you, before we even started actual production, we were developing for probably a year. And it started off as a film targeted at a much younger audience. It wasnít as dark; in was actually a very light film. It was called Drats!, which was named after the... breed, I guess, of the population of the film, the characters. The premise was still the same, it was after some kind of nuclear disaster, where the population of Earth that survived was in fact a population of mutants. In fact, the characters in Rock & Rule are basically rat-like humans. We started with much more animal-like designs. Dizzy was much more of a friendly, roly-poly person than even in the final version.

It was a lot more cartoony. We had an idea where Angel, who started off as a Drat, basically normal Drat-type person. But when Mok finds her and steals her, rather than control her through some electro-digital futuristic device, which he does in the film, he actually changed her into a guitar.

Thatís pretty weird.

It is pretty weird. So Mok actually had this sort of feminine form that was part guitar and part woman, shall we say, for his final performance.

Wow.

So as he played her, so she sang. It was pretty, kind of, erotic.

[laughs] And I think this is the point where you say, you know, maybe we should be aiming this at an older audience.

[laughs] Well, we did a lot of talking to people in those days, and we werenít sure of the market. We just didnít know. And we were advised at the time, I guess by certain acquaintances in Hollywood, that we should be aiming at an older audience. And so we basically turned the picture around completely. And just targeted it much, much older.

Itís funny, because at the time so few animated features for adults actually got anywhere.

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it is what is, and who knows what it would have been had it been something else. We certainly had a great team in those days, we had fabulous animators, and because we were all learning... it was something really brand new. You know, really discovering something. It was great, I mean that really drove that picture a long way. And I think a lot of that ended up on the screen.

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Originally printed in fps #12 (Autumn 1997)