The idea for Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart’s “Wolfwalker” came together largely over a lunchtime conversation.
Moore, who directs and produces the animated film, and Stewart, who also directs, discussed their co-directing process and the outside influences that shaped their storyline during a collaborative event by Variety and Apple TV Plus.
“We set the movie in Kilkenny, where we both grew up, and the folklore from around Kilkenny about Wolves of Ossory — like the wolf people of this area,” he said. “We both wanted to speak to what would it be like if someone who was hunting an animal ended up becoming that animal, they were being hunted.”
Combining their interests and stories from their childhood homes, the directors landed on a storyline about a young girl who sets out to help her father eliminate the last wolf tribe. Befriending a girl from another tribe, she learns of people with powers to transform into wolves.
But production for the film extended multiple years, and as time passed, the directors found their film becoming increasingly relevant. With fires raging across multiple countries this year, the message of environmental protection took on more meaning.
“I wouldn’t say tropes, but (the inspirations are) things that have been tackled in stories in older times. But I think we just got little bits from here, little bits from there,” Stewart said. “I’m so glad we picked things that we were passionate about because it took us several years to make it. Really, if you’re not passionate about it, you’ll get bored doing it.”