"It was a great, great shame," says Peter Lord of the 2005 fire at the Aardman Animations studio storage facility. "Hundreds of chickens went up in smoke."
Of course, Lord isn't talking about live chickens; he's referring to the hundreds of clay model chickens produced for the Golden-Globe-nominated Chicken Run. Lord is in Tempe speaking after an advanced screening of Aardman's latest claymation romp, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, which opens in theaters this Friday, April 27.
Based on the zany novel The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe (who also penned the screenplay), the film follows a ragtag bunch of hapless pirates - including a fish wearing a hat - headed up by the aptly named Pirate Captain (voiced by Hugh Grant). The Pirate Captain may have a luxurious beard, but when it comes to plundering he is woefully inept; his best capture yet (compared to ghost ships and plague boats) is the exploration ship of Charles Darwin (David Tennant). After years of humiliating losses at the Pirate of the Year Awards, the Pirate Captain hopes that Darwin may hold the key to finally obtaining this prestigious pirate honor.