×

Holiday Movie ‘Klaus’ Launches Netflix’s Animated Feature Ambitions

Filled with humor and emotion in equal parts, Netflix’s first animated feature, Sergio Pablos’ hand-drawn, feel-good family holiday movie “Klaus,” checks off all the right boxes. The “Despicable Me” creator included something for everyone in this clever Santa Claus origin tale wrapped in the idea that one simple act of kindness always sparks another.

Oscar watchers will be keeping a close eye on “Klaus,” which boasts a stellar voice cast led by Jason Schwartzman as hapless postman Jesper, alongside J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones, Norm Macdonald, Will Sasso and Joan Cusack.

The story follows the spoiled Jesper, who’s reluctantly sent away and stationed on the fictional Arctic island of Smeerensburg. He comes up with an idea for children to write a letter to Klaus. In exchange for a letter, the kids receive a toy.  Once there, he forms an unlikely alliance with a mysterious toymaker, helping to end an age-old feud while delivering a sleigh full of holiday traditions. It’s a creative and original thrill from top to bottom.

Produced by Jinko Gotoh (“Finding Nemo”), “Klaus” is based on an original story by Pablos, who wrote the screenplay with Jim Mahoney and Zach Lewis.

Popular on Variety

The film’s groundbreaking visuals were created at the SPA Studios in Madrid, where Pablos and his wife and producing partner Marisa Román assembled a team of more than 250 animators and artists to bring “Klaus” to the screen. The results are indeed a gorgeous production. Pablos and his team developed a production pipeline that combined traditional hand-drawn animation with custom-built shading and lighting tools for a beautifully stylized 3D effect that pushes 2D animation to new — and, perhaps, Oscar-worthy — heights.

More Artisans

  • American Factory

    'American Factory' Editor Had to Cut Down 2,000 Hours of Footage

    Editor Lindsay Utz admits filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert never fully counted the hours of footage shot for the Oscar-nominated documentary “American Factory,” but she puts it close to 2000 hours. Utz pored over the footage that Bognar and Reichert had spent over three years filming and whittled the story down to just under [...]

  • Cinematographer Roger Deakins poses for a

    Roger Deakins Wins ASC Award for '1917'

    Roger Deakins has won the top feature award from the American Society of Cinematographers. The win for “1917” marked his fifth win from the society. The evening kicked off with the ASC Opening reel highlighting cinematography, followed by the first award of the night for Documentary. “Joker” director Todd Phillips presented the inaugural Documentary Award [...]

  • Tesla Movie Sundance

    Five Artisans Talk About Their Work on Buzzy Sundance Titles

    At this year’s Sundance, 118 features will make their debut. Here are five hotly anticipated films that will be in the mix and some of the artisans behind them.  Bad Hair (Midnight) Costume designer Ceci reconnects with Justin Simien (“Dear White People”) on a satirical horror set in 1989 Los Angeles, where ambitious Anna (Elle [...]

  • Joker Movie

    Make-Up Artist Nicki Ledermann on the Stages of 'Joker' Face

    When “Joker” make-up artist Nicki Ledermann came on board, she had some ideas in mind for the film and presented mock-ups to director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix — and both Phillips and Phoenix had already played around with ideas and showed Ledermann photos. “I had to take the design and it was up [...]

  • Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, California,

    Alison Small Set to Lead Training for Netflix in U.K. (EXCLUSIVE)

    Alison Small, CEO of The Production Guild of Great Britain, is in discussions to join Netflix as head of its training initiatives out of the U.K., Variety has learned. The Production Guild, whose members include line producers, production managers and location managers, among others, advertised for a new CEO last week. Its chair is Alex [...]

  • The Gentlemen Costume Design

    How Costume, Production Pros Used Class Style to Define Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Gentlemen’

    For Guy Ritchie’s newest crime-meets-action film “The Gentlemen,” about an American drug kingpin living in Britain and trying to sell his business, the director turned to his “Aladdin” team of costume designer Michael Wilkinson and production designer Gemma Jackson. But the backgrounds and looks they created had less to do with Arabian Nights than with [...]

  • Frozen 2 Rocketman Avengers Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Frozen 2,' 'Rocketman' Take Top Honors at Lumiere Awards

    “Frozen 2” led the Advanced Imaging Society’s Lumiere Awards on Wednesday. The hit Disney sequel was honored with three Lumieres for immersive animated feature film, original song and use of HDR. Director Jennifer Lee was on hand to accept the prizes during a ceremony at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif. The Advanced Imaging Society [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content