|Directed by||Sylvain Chomet|
|Produced by||Bob Last|
|Written by||Jacques Tati
|Release date(s)||February 16 2010 (Berlin)
May 5, 2010 (France)
October 7, 2010 (Russia)
The Illusionist is a British-French animated film directed by Sylvain Chomet, released in 2010. The film is based on an unproduced script that the French mime, director and actor Jacques Tati had written in 1956 as a personal letter to his estranged eldest daughter in collaboration with long term writing partner Henri Marquet between Mon Oncle and Playtime. The main character is an animated version of Tati animated by Laurent Kircher. The plot revolves around a struggling illusionist who visits an isolated community and meets a young lady who is convinced that he is a real magician. The film is set in Scotland in the late 1950s. According to the director, "It's not a romance, it's more the relationship between a dad and a daughter."
According to the 2006 reading of The Illusionist script at the London Film School introduced by Chomet, ‚ÄúThe great French comic Jacques Tati wrote the script of The Illusionist and intended to make it as a live action film with his daughter‚ÄĚ.
The script was passed to Chomet by Tati's youngest daughter, Sophie Tatischeff, when Chomet was seeking permission to use a clip from Tati's 1949 film Jour de f√™te in Les Triplettes de Belleville. Tatischeff suggested an animated film as she did not want an actor to play her father. Sophie Tatischeff died on 27 October 2001, almost 2 years before the 11th June 2003 French release of Les Triplettes de Belleville.
The film was made at Chomet's Edinburgh film studio Django Films by an international group of animators. It was estimated to cost around ¬£10 million and was funded by Path√© Pictures. However, in a February 2010 press conference, Chomet said that it had ended up costing ¬£13 million. Made in Edinburgh, a international group of around 45 creatives were employed during its production. The film was primarily animated in Scottish Studios with further work being done in studios in France, London and around 5% being completed in South Korea. The Django Films studio was set up solely to make this film, and is now being dismantled.
The first footage from the film was shown at the 2008 Cannes film festival. The film was expected to premiere at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, but as of August 2009 a release date was yet to be announced. On January 21, 2010, it was announced that the film would premiere at the Berlinale festival on February 16. Pathe Pictures is handling distribution for France (May 5) and the UK, and distribution deals have been secured for Japan (Klockworx), Italy (Cinema 11), Greece (Nutopia), Benelux (Paradiso), the Middle East (Phars Film), and Russia. The first official trailer for the film was Russian, released on March 13, 2010.
There have been calls by the family of Tati's abandoned daughter to give her a screen credit as the true inspiration behind the screenplay.