Lorna Cook and Kelly Asbury

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Interviewed by James Mottram

The animation here is called tra-digital. What does that mean?

Lorna Cook: It's really the moulding of two sensibilities - the 2D artform, hand-drawn, personal, intimate animation. And 3D animation. It's the marrying of the two, so you get this unique blend that we've achieved in "Spirit".

Hans Zimmer and Bryan Adams have written and arranged a series of songs for the soundtrack. How long have they been involved?

Kelly Asbury: Hans was with us almost the entire time. He was involved with the story process to some degree. He came to story meetings. He watched screenings of the movie as it was being made, the whole time keeping in mind what he was going to do with that music. Bryan came about a year ago. He saw several sequences in various stages of production. That was when he decided to really not write about what was happening on screen, but give us the emotional voice of the character in the song.

LC: Jeffrey [Katzenberg, the producer] really liked Bryan's music, and thought, "Here's a guy who embodies the musical voice and soul of the horse, with his attitude, tender ballads, and his rock'n'roll."

Along with the songs, you break the rules by not having the creatures talk...

KA: Yeah - and we don't have comic relief for comic's sake. We didn't use devices that would be a sure bet for appeal. The comic sidekick for instance. As much as I love that, how many times has Thumper or Jimmy Cricket turned up in their movies? What would we have had? The dancing scorpion or funny rattlesnake!

Did you study horses while drawing them?

LC: We were very exacting with that. We've had eight weeks of ramp up time for the animators. They were studying horses, drawing from life. We had horse specialists in, who gave them crash-courses in how horses move and think. It enabled them to take the challenge. It was the only way to do this.