Larrikins (partially found unfinished DreamWorks film; 2013-2017)
Larrikins is an animated comedy musical that was at one point in development at DreamWorks Animation. First announced in 2013, the movie was based on an original story written by screenwriter Harry Cripps, which told the story of a bilby named Perry who leaves home alongside Red the kangaroo to travel across the Australian Outback.
The movie had actors such as Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, and Naomi Watts set to star in unspecified roles; English-Australian comedian and musician Tim Minchin held the helm of the project, writing songs for the movie, as well co-directing it alongside DreamWorks veteran Chris Miller. The movie was slated for a February 16th, 2018 release, which would have made it the first DreamWorks Animation movie to be distributed by Universal Pictures, after the latter’s parent company, Comcast, acquired the animation studio in March 2016.
Cancellation and Bilby
On March 5th, 2017, Tim Minchin announced on his personal blog that DreamWorks had cancelled Larrikins. However, with the movie far into production, members of Larrikins’ production team, Liron Topaz, Pierre Perifel and JP Sanscertain, made use of the assets already made for the film, like character and background models, and came up with the short film Bilby, titled after the main character’s species, which premiered at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in 2018.
On December 21st, 2018 Bilby was uploaded to DreamWorks' official YouTube channel, but was deleted sometime afterward, however it was released as a bonus feature on the Blu-Ray release of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
In an interview for the website Film Stories, in April 2020, Tim Minchin revealed that after its cancellation, studios like Netflix and Animal Logic wanted to buy the rights to the movie, but with no avail, for he claimed that Universal made it non-viable for purchase, likely due to DreamWorks' commitment to Bilby at the time.
Months after the movie's cancellation, animators have uploaded character and animation reels with work done for DreamWorks, most notably featuring footage from Larrikins, starting with Jaryd Snover, who uploaded on June 3rd, 2017, a rigging reel featuring scenes with Hotspur and Dorset (though without audio). Several other people who worked on the movie followed suit.
On December 7th, 2017, Dave Weatherly uploaded a six-minute-long character reel, three of which dedicated to the cancelled movie. On September 26, 2018, animator Scott Lemmer uploaded on his Vimeo account an animation reel showing footage from Larrikins. On January 29th, 2019, Alexis Wanneroy, former animation supervisor at DreamWorks, also uploaded onto his Vimeo account another reel showing footage from both Bilby and Larrikins, as well as B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, another unreleased DreamWorks project. A couple of days later, on February 9th, Wanneroy uploaded a pre-production reel showing additional animation from both cancelled movies. Roughly 50 seconds of footage consists of animation tests from Larrikins, while 25 more seconds come from two finished scenes, one of which features Perry, which would become the eponymous character from the short Bilby.
Shortly after the movie's cancellation, illustrator and character designer Peter de Sève shared concept art of Larrikins. de Sève shared more Larrikins concept art after Bilby being released online.
On April 24th, 2019, DreamWorks art director Richard Daskas shared concept paintings on Tumblr, crediting de Sève and animator Pierre Perifel for the character design. Additionally, on an unknown date, designer Gabriele Pennacchioli shared concept art from 2015 of Perry's family. It's unclear just how much of what's seen in the concept art was actually going to be used in the eventual film.
These character renders were uploaded by Hyun Huh, head of modelling at DreamWorks Animation, on May 2017, a couple of months after Larrikins' cancellation.
Peter de Sève
*Character designs by Peter de Sève and Pierre Perifel.
- B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations (partially found unreleased DreamWorks Animation film; 2015)
- How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (lost T.J. Miller audio of DreamWorks animated film; late 2010s)
- Me and My Shadow (partially found footage of unreleased DreamWorks animated film; 2010-2017)
- Tim Minchin's blog post regarding Larrikins' cancellation. Retrieved 11 Jul '19
- Cartoon Brew’s interview with the directors of ‘’Bilby’’. Retrieved 11 Jul '19
- Film Stories's Interview with Tim Minchin, Retrieved, 06 May '21
- Bennicke's storyboard, part 1 Retrieved 23 Sep '19
- Bennicke's storyboard, part 2 Retrieved 23 Sep '19
- Peter de Sève's first tweet with concept art. Retrieved 11 Jul '19
- Peter de Sève's second tweet. Retrieved 11 Jul '19
- Peter de Sève's third tweet (thread). Retrieved 09 Jul '19
- Richard Daskas' Tumblr post that has concept paintings. Retrieved 09 Jul '19
- Gabriele Pennacchioli concept art for the film. Retrieved 09 Jul '19