Artist helps fill the hole in ‘Rabbit’

Shaw channeled teenage years to produce comic gem

To create the onscreen comic book whose melancholy images underscore the weighty emotion of “Rabbit Hole,” artist Dash Shaw got into the character of the script’s troubled teen cartoonist — not as thespian but as technician.

Shaw, whose graphic novel, “The Bottomless Belly Button,” was published in 2008, typically works with pen and ink, drawing flat panels intended for printing. For the film’s book, he switched to kids’ glitter glue, highlighters, silver Sharpies, paint markers and other craft supplies, implements easily obtained by a high-schooler.

“Since Jason (the movie’s 15-year-old cartoonist) is not making something to be printed, there could be actual texture,” Shaw says. “I tried to have gooey, messy, paint-y stuff in there.”

Shaw drew “as Jason” again by lending his steady hand to each close-up of the character’s active drawing.

“It was really strange to have to draw with a camera over you and get it right,” Shaw says. “It’s very hard. … There’s a lot of pressure.”

Popular on Variety

Rabbit Hole” director John Cameron Mitchell hired Shaw after seeing his online comic “BodyWorld” and “The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D.,” an IFC series. Together, Mitchell and Shaw dreamed up a humanistic, sci-fi comic brimming with tiny faces, the same family inhabiting endless realities.

“With John, it was really important that the little faces have a psychology,” Shaw explains. “It sounds silly, because they’re simple, dumb-looking faces, but just having the eyebrow a little bit different (made a difference). Each face conveys a specific feeling.”

Shaw is currently in production on an animated feature that he has written and is directing, “The Ruined Cast,” with Mitchell producing.

More Film

  • Outstanding Performance by a Cast in

    SAG Awards 2020: 'Parasite' Makes History; 'The Crown,' 'Mrs. Maisel' Earn Top TV Honors

    Neon’s “Parasite” won best motion picture cast at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, becoming the first foreign language film to pick up the top prize. Netflix’s “The Crown” was named best TV drama and Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” earned the prize for best TV comedy in a strong showing for streaming [...]

  • Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Lee Jeong-eun,

    SAG Awards 2020: The Biggest Snubs and Surprises

    The Screen Actors Guild Awards are always the first peer group ceremony of the new year, giving those who make films and television series the chance to celebrate each other. Going into the 26th annual ceremony, which took place Jan. 19, the nominees were a mix of industry veterans and beloved favorite and some newer-comers, [...]

  • HAF logo

    Hong Kong Project Market HAF Lines up Cream of Asia for 2020 Edition

    Lin Cheng-sheng (“Betlnut Beauty”), Giddens Ko (“You Are The Apple of My Eye”), Pang Ho-cheung (“Love in a Puff”) and Yeo Siew-hua (“A Land Imagined”) are among the big name Asian directors lining up to participate in the 18th edition of the Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum. The powerhouse project market will run for [...]

  • Jennifer Aniston

    SAG Awards: The Complete Winners List

    Korean thriller “Parasite” made history at the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday, becoming the first foreign-language film to win best motion picture cast. In another streaming stride, Netflix’s “The Crown” nabbed best TV drama and Amazon’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” took home best TV comedy. In a repeat of the Golden Globes, [...]

  • SAG Awards Placeholder

    How to Watch 2020 SAG Awards Online

    The 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, honoring the top performers in film and television, is just a few hours away. Although the show is hostless, Joey King and Logan Browning are co-ambassadors of the ceremony, taking place on Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be broadcast live on TNT [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content