London film premieres

Chicken Run London film premiere 2023

Having been hopelessly repressed and facing eventual certain death at the chicken farm where they are held, Rocky the rooster and Ginger the chicken decide to rebel against the evil Mr. and Mrs. Tweedy, the farm's owners. Rocky and Ginger lead their fellow chickens in a great escape from the murderous farmers and their farm of doom.

Chicken Run poster

Chicken Run London Premieres THE MAYOR OF LONDON’S GALA

  • Status: Confirmed
  • Date: October 14, 2023
  • Location: Southbank centre, Royal festival hall, London
  • Attended by: Thandiwe Newton, Zachary Levi, Bella Ramsey, Imelda Staunton, Lynn Ferguson
  • Release in Cinemas: 2000-06-23
  • Runtime: 84 minutes
  • directors: Peter Lord
  • directors: Nick Park

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Did you know ... ?

  1. Babs' knitting is real, done with toothpicks as needles.
  2. There was a major push to get the film nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The failure to get the nomination, and the popularity of the film among Academy members led to the inclusion of Best Animated Feature for the next Academy Awards (2002), which was won by the fellow DreamWorks film Shrek (2001).
  3. Fowler's "military service" is not entirely unprecedented. During an actual recording made under fire during the March 24, 1944 invasion of the Marshall Islands by the Firth Amphibian Corps, correspondent Fred Welker reported on the sudden appearance of a chicken in the midst of the gunfire, which broke the tension. Walker then reported on the inexplicable appearance of chickens during previous invasions, suggesting (in jest) that the U.S.O. must be sending them.
  4. According to the tartan of the scarf she is wearing, the Scottish chicken "Mac" (Lynn Ferguson) belongs to clan MacLeod of Lewis, Scotland.
  5. After Rocky leaves, there is another joke at Mel Gibson's expense. Bunty says, "I don't even think he was American." A reference to the common misconception that Gibson is actually Australian. (Although he was born in the U.S. and didn't move to Australia until he was 12, the belief persists, especially in the UK, that he's Australian.)
  6. Ginger and Rocky were named after two of co-writer and co-director Nick Park's childhood pet chickens.
  7. Mel Gibson's kids played a major part in convincing Gibson to take the part, because they were very impressed with the Wallace and Gromit shorts.
  8. The characters' bodies were made of silicone with latex covering, while the heads and hands (or wings) were plasticene. All the chicken characters have collars and ruffles to hide the disparity between the modeling clay heads and wings and the latex-covered bodies.
  9. Early in development, Mac's name was supposed to be short for McNugget.
  10. Many sequences were modeled after The Great Escape (1963). When Ginger is digging the tunnel, she is shown on a small trolley being pulled through the tunnel like the character played by Charles Bronson. When she is locked up, she bounces a ball against the wall like the character played by Steve McQueen. Even the music is similar to the "Escape" theme.
  11. The original script featured an additional character: Ginger's little brother Nobby. DreamWorks suggested that Nobby was left out, in order to make the film less cute.
  12. During the exercise scene, the chickens are seen to perform taekwondo patterns at one point, as one of the animators was also a taekwondo instructor.
  13. One reference to Indiana Jones in the pie machine sequence that was never used had Rocky come face to face with a chicken skeleton inside the machine, as Indy does in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Rocky would then have said, "They bought a used machine. How cheap is that?"
  14. The filmmakers were nervous about showing Rocky and Ginger kissing, fearing the sight of two chickens touching beaks would look too awkward. This led to the running gag of their being interrupted every time they are about to kiss (by the sound of the pie machine, by Ginger slapping Rocky, by the gravy explosion, etcetera.). When the kiss finally comes, it is staged so that the actual contact of "lips" is hidden.
  15. In the scene where Rocky is tuning in the radio, one of the short bursts of music heard is from the opening theme to The Archers, a long-running British drama series on BBC Radio 4 (An everyday story of country folk). The Archers began in 1950, and is still broadcast regularly to this day (2022).
  16. Nick and Fetcher were made rats because they can get in and out of the chicken run being scavengers. Nick Park wasn't sure initially about naming one of them after him.
  17. Mel Gibson recorded all of his lines separately in the United States, while the rest of the cast recorded together at Aardman Animations, Ltd. in Bristol, England.
  18. Eggless, ill-fated chicken Edwina is named for Conservative former Health Minister Edwina Currie, whose political career foundered due to the 1988 salmonella scare that led to egg sales in the UK dropping by 60% and a cull of four million chickens.
  19. It took a week to create three or four chickens. Each one was designed with an armature underneath, like a skeleton, and rods were used whenever a chicken ran or flew. The puppets were then manipulated and photographed twenty-four times for every second of film. Several puppets were produced, because plasticine isn't too durable. So silicon was used too, because it is more durable, and saved time on making more puppets. There were one hundred individual stages, in order to create a chicken.
  20. During the escape scene at the end of the film. Mac says 'I canny work miracles captain! We're givin' her all she's got!' and later when Mrs. Tweedy grabs onto the rope hanging from the chickens flying hut. Fowler shouts 'Great Scott! What was that?' Which then Mac replies 'A cling-on, captain! The engines can't take it' as a reference to the Star Trek character from the original series, Montgomery Scott (played by James Doohan) who like Mac is also Scottish and the chief engineering officer aboard the USS Enterprise. Also "cling-on" sounded similar to "Klingon", Klingons are a fictional alien race from said series.
  21. "Hut 17" is a reference to the World War II P.O.W. film Stalag 17 (1953), directed by Billy Wilder. Rocky also says "I've met a lot of hard boiled eggs in my time, but you're twenty minutes," a line from Wilder's film previous to Stalag 17, Ace in the Hole (1951).
  22. During the screwball "teaching the hens to fly" sequence, Mac, the Scottish chicken, is tossed into the air exactly like a caber in the Highland Games, and, in fact, when she lands on her head and falls facing exactly away from her tosser, this would achieve the maximum possible score for that event.
  23. Some ideas in the film derive from when Nick Park kept chickens as pets when he was a boy (for example, naming Rocky "The Lone Free Ranger"). Also, when he was a teenager, Park worked in a chicken packing factory, and his days in the slaughterhouse gave him the idea for the pie machine, like Ginger hung upside down from her legs.
  24. Originally, the filmmakers had planned to have sparrows ridicule the chickens' attempts at flight. Rather than spend time and money on characters that would be on-screen for only a brief time, they used Nick and Fetcher instead.
  25. When the plane is about to take off, Fowler calls, "chocks away!" The chocks are actually triangular bars of chocolate, modeled on the Toblerone brand.
  26. The light bulb in Hut 17 was real, so it appeared in scale with the rest of the set. Also, the doors and windows in Hut 17 worked on real hinges. The ceiling had irregular holes cut into it, to create a desired light effect. The disco ball also made real reflections.
  27. When the man from the circus is talking to the Tweedys on their doorstep, Mrs. Tweedy is shown to be holding a "Rocky The Flying Rooster" poster after Ginger screeches for the second time. For a split second, the cannon at the bottom of the poster (indicating Rocky's true method of flight) is visible, due to the light coming from the Tweedy's hall. However, Mrs. Tweedy then raises her hand up to her collar, which casts a shadow over the cannon, and hides it from view.
  28. The pie machine was meant to show the threat of mechanization. Fifty people worked on its design. The cogs in the machine were silver spray painted, to make them look metallic (they were made of polyurethane), and then scrubbed down, to take some of the shine off. Finally, they rubbed the (plywood) interior with lead grate polish to give it the look and feel of age and use. The machine even had a plaque, to give it a further touch of authenticity.
  29. When Rocky first appears on the farm, Fowler denounces him (and all "Yanks") by calling him "overpaid, oversexed, and over here!". This was a common gripe about U.S. service members, expressed by British (and in the Pacific Theater, Australian) troops and civilians during World War II (it has since passed into the vernacular as an expression of mild resentment towards America). The American retort was that their allies were "underpaid, undersexed, and under Eisenhower!". In the same rant, Fowler also claims that Yanks are late for every war. The U.S. entered World War I in 1917, and World War II in (December) 1941, roughly three years after the British had started fighting in each war.
  30. June 23rd 2020, the 20th anniversary of Chicken Run, it was announced by Aardman that a sequel is in the works. The long-awaited sequel entitled Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget (2023) went into full production in 2021.
  31. Scenes deleted from the finished film included Fowler being an alcoholic, a chicken eaten by the watchdogs in an escape attempt, Rocky's sole escape from the farm by hiding in the egg bucket, and a more elaborate climax. It involved Mr. Tweedy's Mini, a truck, a combine harvester, Rocky and Ginger jumping over hedges on a trike, like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape (1963), before going over a cliff, Mrs. Tweedy falling in mud, and the harvester encasing her in a bale of hay, with Mr, Tweedy gloating "Right, there's going to be some changes around here." Then the albatross breaks up, and the chickens fly by themselves into the sunset. When they land, they dance the "Funky Chicken" in celebration.
  32. The chickens were built on two scales: full-size "A" models for the main scenes, and smaller "B" models for scenes with the Tweedys, and for forced perspective shots.
  33. John Sharian's (Circus Man's) part was a lot bigger, but cut to the point that only a single line of his was left: "Sure". It was a costly cut, since Nick Park arranged for him to be flown from America just to do the part.
  34. When Mrs. Tweedy measures Babs for the pie machine, she was on elevated rigging, so she would appear to tower over the assembled chickens. She was given different walks to intimidate them.
  35. Directors and co-writers Nick Park and Peter Lord spent six months devising the story and characters. When putting together the script, they booked into a B&B in Wensleydale, the home of one of Wallace's favorite cheeses.
  36. The dance scene was acted out first by some of the set dressers.
  37. Some original characters were dropped, like Sage and Onion, a pair of mute twins, as well as Paxo, a champion egg layer.
  38. When Rocky is first introduced, he is seen flying over the coop yelling Freedom. This is a reference to his earlier movie Braveheart (1995) where he yells freedom towards the end of the movie.
  39. The gaunt, sharp angles of the farmhouse were meant to reflect Mrs. Tweedy's menace.
  40. Some set dressings were pilfered from scrapyards.
  41. The crate plane at the climax was meant to look extraordinary and funny. Sixty chicken models were inside of it at any one time.
  42. Halfway through production, the animators had gone through 3,370 pounds of plasticine.
  43. The decision to make Rocky American came late, to give Ginger and Rocky a Tracey and Hepburn feel, as well as an element of culture clash.
  44. Mac's thick eyeglasses are a reference to the similar glasses worn by Dustin Hoffman in Papillon (1973).
  45. Aardman Animations, Ltd. wasn't sure if they could pull off chickens in plasticine. Especially, since they look nothing like real chickens, (for example, no feathers, fat legs, and huge bodies, et cetera).
  46. The script was originally twenty minutes too long, so some scenes had to be shortened or compressed, like the initial unveiling of the pie machine.
  47. The bumps on each chicken were nicknamed "fluffles" by Aardman Animations, Ltd. Bunty's character, for instance, has 3,077 of them. They avoided feathers because they're tough to animate, and the beaks were held in place with a locator.
  48. Mac sometimes calls Ginger 'hen', a popular term of endearment in Scotland (where Mac is from) for a woman as well as a reference to Ginger being - obviously - a chicken.
  49. The scene with Rocky and Ginger on the roof took five months to animate. The animators carved semicircular chunks into the roof, and placed Rocky and Ginger into the hollows to give the illusion of sitting down. The dialogue was short, but the stage directions included tiny details, which is why the scene took so long to animate.
  50. A song originally intended for the end credits was "Don't Fence Me In", sung by The Andrews Sisters.
  51. While the normal frame rate for a movie is twenty-four frames per second, and all the Aardman Animations, Ltd. shorts had been shot accordingly, this film was shot at only twenty frames per second, to save on time and money.
  52. 644 Squadron RAF, of which Fowler used to be the mascot, really existed. It was formed in 1944, and used Halifax bombers to tow gliders across the channel during the D-Day landings.
  53. Originally, Rocky had a wattle, but this was later removed. Another early idea that was dropped was the chickens learn to fly at the climax just by believing it. Another was the chickens once escaped from a nice farm, and when they misbehaved, they were sent to Tweedy's Farm as a punishment.
  54. Nick Park: The voice of the clucking chicken below the disguised teapot.
  55. The name of Nick the rat is an inside joke. In British slang to "nick" something is to steal it.
  56. The iconic landmark, the Odeon cinema in Bradford, West Yorkshire which was built in 1930, was one of the largest cinemas in the UK outside of London and finally closed its doors for the final time in 70 years on Sunday 2nd July 2000. It was decided by the cinema's management that the final film to be shown at the legendary theatre was Chicken Run.
  57. Mrs. Tweedy's name is given as "Melisha", similar in sound to "malicious" and pronounced quite similar to the word "militia".
  58. The sky seen in the film measured from ten to twenty feet. 120 were painted for the film. Studio lamps were reflected off the sky to give it the appearance of daylight.
  59. The oven set had black and white polka dotting to suggest enameling.
  60. There is a reference to The Simpsons (1989); when Rocky falls in the pie dough, and proclaims "Dough!" in an annoyed manner, which is phonetically similar to Homer Simpson's catchphrase "D'oh!" A year before the release of the movie, Mel Gibson guest starred on The Simpsons episode "Beyond the Blunderdome" as himself.
  61. The orchestra for the film included, in addition to the traditional orchestra and chorus, a 15-piece kazoo choir, a bagpiper, a jazz band, a harmonica player, and an accordionist.
  62. There are 563 feathered and costumed puppets in the film.
  63. Fletcher says "The rats are the stars, actually." Come six years later and Aardman Animation would make a film focused on rats in Flushed Away (2006).
  64. During the exercise scene, Bunty is doing her push-ups on one wing only.
  65. The movie was shot using converted 1950s 35mm Mitchell BNC cameras.
  66. The view of the Yorkshire Dales was sectional, stopping just at the stone wall.
  67. After the completion of the crate plane, the chickens use "Tasty-Choc" chocolate bars as chocks. Chocks are the wedges placed against wheels to prevent them from rolling.
  68. Rocky and Fowler's polar opposite reactions to having their true natures exposed can actually be pinpointed to their upbringings. Rocky was in the Circus, so when the time came for him to face the truth, he ran away. That kind of "care-free" lifestyle he wanted meant he didn't want to face down the disappointment that came after he built everyone up so much. Fowler by contrast was a military bird. So when his failing came out, despite his building himself up as well, he faced it head on like a good soldier would.
  69. In Russia, the title of this movie is "Escape from the Hen House".
  70. Right before Rocky flies in, as Ginger is crying against the fence, we hear and see what appears to be thunder and lightning. It's the cannon that he was launched from in a circus act, meaning he can't actually fly under his own power. Then, when she puts the missing piece on the poster, it's accompanied by dramatic thunder.
  71. Mac plays the harmonica, and at one point provides the background music for several seconds.
  72. Two actresses and one actor went on to be in the Harry Potter film franchise, Bunty (Imelda Staunton) as Dolores Umbridge, Nick the rat (Timothy Spall) as Peter Pettigrew (who, as an unregistered animagus, could turn into a rat), and Mrs. Tweedy (Miranda Richardson) as Rita Skeeter.
  73. According to the filmmakers, the action takes place in 1959. According to a calendar on the wall in the Tweedy's farmhouse, the film specifically takes place in July 1959, as July was the only month of that year where the first day of the month was a Wednesday.
  74. On the tree behind Bunty and Babs at the end, there is a heart carved into the trunk with two names inside it. Upon closer inspection, it reads "Bunty + Fowler."
  75. When Mrs Tweedy slams her fist down to shut Mr Tweedy up, their wedding photo is glimpsed in the background. It can also be seen behind her desk.
  76. Although Fowler claims to be a member of No. 644 Squadron RAF, the "crate" on the postcard he shows to Ginger is actually an Armstrong Whitworth A.W. 38 Whitley, a medium bomber used by the Royal Air Force from 1937-1942 (saw limited use until 1946). No. 644 Squadron RAF actually flew the Handley Page Halifax.
  77. The name on the circus poster, Colonel Daniel Spoon is a joke on Daniel Boone.
  78. Julia Sawalha and Jane Horrocks, who voice Ginger and Babs respectively, appeared alongside each other in Jennifer Saunders' hit sitcom, Absolutely Fabulous (1992). Sawalha played Saffron, the long suffering daughter of Saunders' character, Edina, while Horrocks played Edina's incompetent assistant, Bubble.
  79. In order to stiffen and color the modeling clay used to create the characters, Aardman Animation Studios puts the clay through food processing machines, the same kind that the chickens are terrified to go into themselves.
  80. The clipboard Mrs Tweedy has during the first roll call shows the farm is located in the fictional town/village of Dulldale, North Riding (now North Yorkshire).
  81. The highest-grossing stop-motion animated film ever made.
  82. In 2005, all of the Chicken Run sets, props and characters went up in flames when a fire destroyed the warehouse where Aardman kept their archive from the company's history, an electrical fault was to blame
  83. Fowler appears to be modelled after the Major in Fawlty Towers.
  84. And when Rocky is recovering in the hut, he's heard mumbling something about not wanting to get stuffed in there again. It sounds like prison. It's the cannon.
  85. Mrs. Tweedy's skepticism about the chickens being organized is further compounded by the fact that she almost never personally works with the chickens herself. Mr. Tweedy is the one who runs all the guard-patrols, while she handles the farm's finances and sleeps at night. She's never seen any of their escape attempts, so she isn't aware of them using any complex tricks or plans. Mr. Tweedy meanwhile has seen all these hi-jinx himself so he's all too aware of it. It may even be why she doesn't believe him: she just thinks he's losing his mind from hanging around chickens all day and night by himself for too long. She doesn't think too highly of his intelligence to begin with, and his inability to keep (supposedly) dumb flightless birds from escaping their secure pen daily doesn't help his credibility at all.
  86. 3,500 kilos of plasticine was used in an average week in which 90 seconds of film was shot.
  87. The movie had been in production since 1995, shortly after Nick Park finished Wallace & Gromit: A Close Shave (1995) and Jack Rosenthal was then hired to develop a screenplay in 1996.
  88. Babs, voiced by Jane Horrocks, has the same personality traits as Horrocks role as Bubbles from the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous.
  89. During roll call near the beginning of the movie, Bunty pushes aside a dark brown chicken who was sleeping on the spot to make room for Ginger. In the next shot we see the brown chicken getting up and looking dazed. When Mrs Tweedy starts walking down, Fowler gets on the other side of Bunty; knocking over the dark brown chicken again!
  90. Principal photography officially took two years to complete.
  91. From the creators of "Wallace & Gromit".
  92. In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene in the beginning, we see Mrs. Tweedy looking at a profits chart, which started high but has since gone down drastically. Maybe her husband's family was rich once and she married him for his money, only for the farm's business to start going down as the movie starts.
  93. Fowler reminisces several times about "the crate" and his RAF days, which becomes important when Ginger asks him if he can help them build an airplane and fly it.
  94. Mrs. Tweedy is voiced by Miranda Richardson who already played three evil women who specialised in beheading (in Blackadder, Sleepy Hollow, and 1999 version of Alice in Wonderland).
  95. The opening scene is a spoof of The Great Escape (1963). Peter Lord spent part of his childhood growing up in Sydney, where he first saw the film. Now he's taken elements of that film and incorporated them into this animated farce about chickens. Lord says that he's not concerned that those references may find themselves above many a child's head. "I don't think that matters. A lot of inspiration like that comes from your favourite movies or instances in your life and you tend to draw on those. And the sorts of movies that you use tend to be feel-good movies such as Great Escape, as well as Star Wars and Indiana Jones, which you'll also see in the film. We could refer to Bergman -but we don't" Lord adds laughingly.
  96. The magazine with the headline "Turn Your Chicken Farm Into A Goldmine" foreshadows the whole thing with the pie machine that will come into play later.
  97. In Europe, the film is owned by Pathe, which is owned by 20th Century Studios, which, in turn, is owned by Walt Disney Studios. Because of this, Chicken Run is streaming on Disney Plus in the United Kingdom and Ireland.




Mel Gibson profile
Mel Gibson
as Rocky
Julia Sawalha profile
Julia Sawalha
as Ginger
Phil Daniels profile
Phil Daniels
as Fetcher
Tony Haygarth profile
Tony Haygarth
as Mr. Tweedy
Jane Horrocks profile
Jane Horrocks
as Babs
Miranda Richardson profile
Miranda Richardson
as Mrs. Tweedy
Timothy Spall profile
Timothy Spall
as Nick
Imelda Staunton profile
Imelda Staunton
as Bunty
Benjamin Whitrow profile
Benjamin Whitrow
as Fowler
John Sharian profile
John Sharian
as Circus Man
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Marco Gomes

I'm Marco, love to post about new film, movies, premires in london, actors and everything relate with movie release