Chicken Run writers share ‘heartbreaking’ fire that almost ‘destroyed’ sequel

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget official teaser

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget has been in production for years, with stop-motion animation taking a little longer to put together than standard Hollywood blockbusters.

However, the Aardman Animation sequel has been faced with a number of extra hurdles to overcome starting with a fire in 2005 that devastated the studio’s main base in Bristol.

The October blaze was reportedly started by an electrical fault in the early hours of the morning and destroyed hundreds of props, sets, puppets and characters from multiple beloved British franchises like Wallace and Gromit.

Unfortunately, many of the puppets, rough drafts of scripts and other original items from the 2000 Chicken Run were also consumed by the fire.

Speaking to Daily Express at the sequel’s London premiere, writers Nick Park and Karey Kirkpatrick recalled the “heartbreaking” event.

Karey, who wrote the original screenplay in 2000, shared: “There were many brilliant jokes destroyed by that fire, thank goodness the films didn’t go anywhere.”

Luckily, at the time the screenwriter also had a few drafts of the script saved on his own computer which became incredibly helpful when he started working on the sequel with Nick.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget sees Ginger (Thandiwe Newton), Rocky (Zachary Levi) and their daughter, Molly (Bella Ramsey), uncover a new threat to the flocks’ hard-earned freedom on Chicken Island, which sees them breaking in rather than breaking out this time.

However, Nick and Karey revealed that their original idea for the sequel was drastically different from what fans will see on-screen as they had centered the story on a father-son relationship between Rocky and an unrealized character called Nobby.

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Karey explained: “It was an inside joke; there was a character in the first movie that we cut, his name was Nobbie and he was a kid chicken.”

As they worked to get a story going, and with the theme of family in mind, the pair agreed that the film’s leads Rocky and Ginger should have a child which brought them back to Nobbie.

Karey continued: “We thought, innocently; ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if we brought Knobbie back?’ because we had his design.

“We wrote a father-son story and everybody was like: ‘What are you thinking?! The first Chicken Run is a feminist anthem, why are you making this a father-son story?’.”

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Nick added with a chuckle: “We didn’t realise in 2000 quite what a feminist story this was, we just wrote about hens, that are female. They’re powerful, they work together and it’s a parody of a matter of war movie.

“In it’s way, it’s a really great inspiring story and we didn’t want to run away from that in the sequel.”

Wanting to stick to the theme, purposely this time, Nick and Karey brought writer Rachel Tunnard on board, who was “heavily pregnant” when she first started working on the project.

She tenderly recalled: “I was thinking a lot about if I was going to be the same person after I had a baby, whether my life was going to be the same or if I had to change certain aspects of my personality in order to be a parent.

“I think that’s one of the main things behind the story.”

Now that her baby bump has turned into a toddler, Rachel added: “It has changed my life completely, but I’m still the woman I was.

“I think you just when they’re tiny you lose yourself a little but it comes back as they grow.”

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is available on Netflix.

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