Before the hotly anticipated world premiere of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget at the BFI’s London Film Festival, the team behind it revealed that they endeavoured to make a “feminist classic”.
Notably, the sequel to the 2000 film arrives 23 years later. It follows Thandiwe Newton’s Ginger and Zachary Levi’s Rocky embarking on a dangerous caper to save their daughter Molly, played by Bella Ramsey. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget sees original cast members Jane Horrocks, Lynn Ferguson, Imelda Staunton and Miranda Richardson reprise their roles.
“The last one was an homage to escape films, and this one is an homage to heist films,” writer Karey Kirkpatrick, who also penned Chicken Run, told Variety. “John [O’Farrell] and I started on this movie in 2014, and we started out with an inside joke, actually. We knew it was a heist film, but what’s the diamond in this heist for chickens? They don’t care about money. So we thought, the diamond is a kid.”
John O’Farrell said that the story originally focused on a father and son, but alongside fellow writer Rachel Tunnard, they opted to focus on the hens instead.
“We did two drafts of a father-son story, and then all the women at Aardman went, ‘What are you doing? This is a feminist classic!'” O’Farrell explained. “Ginger is a feminist hero, an icon, and so we said, ‘OK you’re right, we’re going to make it a mother-daughter story.'”
The director of Dawn of the Nugget, Sam Fell, was also at the premiere, which was without its stars due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. He explained why it took so long to follow up on the first film. “The bar was so high I just knew we had to come up with something at least as great, on its own terms,” he said. “So many people love it that we had to do it justice, which is why it took almost a quarter of a century.”
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is released on Netflix on December 15th.