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Write On: 'Marcel the Shell' Cowriters on Writing a Script

July 6, 2022
3 min read time

Based on the viral YouTube short from 2010, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On follows Marcel (Jenny Slate), a 1-inch tall shell who lives a colorful existence with his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini) and their pet lint, Alan. When asked about creating and writing for such a unique protagonist, the original video's creator Dean Fleischer Camp says, "I think the thing that's always appealed to me about Marcel is he doesn't think of himself as small or weird or a talking shell or anything, and the film itself does not treat him with anything less than 100% dignity as a documentary subject and doesn't freak out over the fact that he's a talking shell."

Camp's co-writer Nick Paley goes on to share his own take on writing "weird" subject matter: "Do everything you can to cultivate high-sensitivity-listening to your own tastes. I think that is a skill that no one really taught us in film school: to self-authorize around the things that you love, even if you think they're dumb and kind of beside the point or not relevant to what's happening. I think the only type of work that is really special is the stuff that someone is really not sure is going to work for other people, and this film is a wonderful proof of that."

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is now playing in theaters.

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