The tyke market: United Kingdom

Hamilton Mattress

Producing Company: Harvest Films

Distributors: Link Entertainment, Egmont Imagination

Creatives: John Webster, Anna Farthing (writers); Barry Purves (director); Christopher Moll (producer); Farrington Lewis (art direction and props); Mackinnon & Saunders (models)

Number of episodes/length: 29-minute special; further episodes outlined

Concept: Hamilton, an aardvark with a talent for drumming, goes to the big city with his agent — Feldwick, a caterpillar — to make a name for himself.

Selling point: High-quality model animation with a lavish budget by TV standards — £1.4 million ($2.1 million). Similar appeal as the “Wallace & Gromit” films and “Chicken Run,” drawing on much of the same talent in Aardman’s home town, Bristol. First conceived by John Webster, the legendary advertising creative, in the early 1980s, “Hamilton Mattress” was finally brought to life by Chris Moll, a former Aardman producer, and the BBC Animation Unit, headed by Colin Rose. Music, a book (“The World of Hamilton Mattress”) and a licensing program are also in the works.

Producers’ take: “A great story, very high-quality animation and strong music. It’s going to appeal to the same audience as ‘Wallace & Gromit,’ both adults and kids. Hamilton himself is somebody you just warm to. You’re very sympathetic to his dilemma,” says Claire Derry, managing director of Link Entertainment, which is co-funding the film along with the BBC and Egmont Imagination.

“‘Hamilton Mattress’ is a modern fable, wrapped up in comedy,” says Chris Moll. “It’s about an aardvark who wants to be beautiful and a caterpillar who wants to be rich. The aardvark discovers self-respect comes through his talent, not through the way he looks. The caterpillar discovers that friendship is more important than wealth.”

More Scene

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

  • Steve Carell Welcome to Marwen

    Steve Carell on New Film 'Welcome to Marwen' and Reprising His 'Anchorman' Character

    In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content