Robert Chandler on the decade-long process of adapting Oscar Wilde's classic short story into an animated film.

The Canterville Ghost gets a banner animated adaptation with an all-star British cast. Stephen Fry stars as Sir Simon de Canterville, a 300-year-old apparition cursed to haunt his estate after an unthinkable tragedy. He's successfully scared away annoying interlopers but meets his match in the Otis family. The annoying Americans aren't scared by his antics. He becomes an ignorable nuisance and hapless target of hellion twin boys. But Sir Simon does find a friend and eventual liberator in the teenaged Victoria (Emily Carey), a courageous heroine who wears "pantaloons", fences, and can't help but fall for the handsome Duke of Cheshire (Freddie Highmore).

Producer/co-director Robert Chandler (The Deep, The Amazing Maurice) discusses the film's long development and adapting Oscar Wilde's classic short story. Chandler "announced the film" at Cannes in 2012. He didn't want to be the guy who "doesn't deliver." It took 10 years to secure financing and produce, but beginning interest was palpable due to director Kim Burdon's initial artwork and a "good script." Chandler secured Hugh Laurie, who plays Death in a thrilling climax, through his agent. He "didn't believe" in asking Fry for "favors" to secure his famed sketch comedy partner. Chandler credits casting Emily Carey as "the heart of the film." She was "better than he could have hoped for."

The Canterville Ghost looks amazing with stunningly detailed background settings. Chandler comments that "differentiating your animated film is half the battle when you're taking it out to market." He has to compete with the blockbuster budgets of "Pixar, Disney, and DreamWorks." Chandler "didn't have a bunch of money to just throw at screens." He prides himself as someone who knows "the tricks" and "ran an animation studio" to "get the most bang for my buck." This experience was key to getting the film produced remotely in the UK, India, and New Zealand during the pandemic. Read on for our full interview with filmmaker Robert Chandler.

Robert Chandler: Let me tell you, when this got started, my hair was black. This is now the color of sustainment. It took 10 years to get the finances together for this film. Then two and a half years to make it, and put it out there. We announced it in Cannes, I think in 2012. I was determined not to be that person who makes the announcement at Cannes, and then doesn't deliver a film. It went through a lot. Stephen Fry came on board very early, but he wasn't part of the original makeup of the film. Basically it was myself, my co-director Kim Burdon, and writers Corey Edwards and Giles New. The script was good. Kim did some beautiful artwork showing characters and some of the locations.

Robert Chandler: We sent it to Stephen, just asking him to be a voice in the film. Stephen came back with his business partner, Gina Carter, who became my co-producer on film. This is why it's Sprout, Stephen's company, and Space Age films, which is my production. We had a bit of development funding from an investor in the UK. We quite quickly got a cast together. I think people responded to the screenplay. And once they knew that Stephen was involved, they knew there would be a certain quality to it.

Check out the full interview here