Director Julio Soto Gurpide knew that there would be one inherent problem with setting his new animated film, “Inspector Sun,” in the insect world. People tend to find insects creepy.
“We are dealing with spiders and a lot of people are very apprehensive with spiders. And I mean A LOT of people,” Gurpide says. “I was aware of some of the apprehensions but not that a lot of people were that apprehensive.
“The biggest challenge was to turn that into a positive and make the spiders appealing. I have to remind the viewer that it is not only spiders but there are a lot of insects in the movie as well.”
Gurpide turned to designers Sylvain Deboissy (“Minions”) and Max Kostenko (“Fantastic Beasts”) to make sure the insects in the film were very attractive and hilarious characters. Gurpide’s entomological casting that sets up a world of bugs where spiders are the police officers and detectives can be seen starting Oct. 27 as “Inspector Sun” opens in local theaters.
The story unfolds during the 1930’s aboard a Pan Am Clipper seaplane during a flight between Shanghai and San Francisco. Hidden away from the human world are the first-class accommodations for the creepy crawlies on the plane.
When the powerful Bugsy Spindlethorp is murdered it leaves his beautiful wife Arabella as a widowed Black Widow. Hard‐boiled Inspector Sun – with some needed help from his young apprentice Janey – begin an investigation into the crime. investigate the crime.
Sun has been designed to be a part Inspector Clouseau and part Hercule Poirot with a touch of “Naked Gin” thrown in for good measure. He must deal with a story filled with countless false tracks, mysterious suspects and a clever plot twist to save the day.
“There is a clumsiness and stupidity but he always gets lucky and solves the mystery in the end,” Gurpide says. “We, this time, wanted it to be different. We didn’t want him to be just lucky.
“So, throughout the course of the movie he starts listening to his young apprentice. He starts listening and by listening he starts learning. He becomes a team player and solves the mystery not because of his luckiness but because of his talent.”
“Inspector Sun” is a big change from the last film directed by Gurpide. His “Deep” dealt with creatures from the deepest part of the ocean. That means he went from animated characters with no feet or arms to those with two, four and eight appendages.
“That made it a lot more challenging. I was just joking that my next film will be about bipeds to not complicate my life even more,” Gurpide says.
Gurpide has been able to handle creatures no matter the number of legs and arms because he has been working in the film industry in both the United States and Spain for more than 20 years. He has been the creator, producer and director of numerous productions ranging from live action films, documentaries, commercials, music videos and television series.
His documentary feature films “Radiophobia” and “My Beautiful Dacia” have been seen all over the world on channels such as SKY, TVE, National Geographic, Channel 4, History Channel, Aljazeera, ARTE or Canal+. He has also completed the 2018 political drama “Palestine” and is currently working on a slate of animated features including “Evolution” an animated comedy and the musical comedy “Metal Heroes” as well as the documentary series “Water Souls.”
“Inspector Sun” is a comical satire of the film noir, “whodunnit” genre, but aimed at a younger audience. That genre tends to feature a lot of dark elements, but Gurpide went in a completely different direction, making his new film an explosion of color.
“The other big challenge of the movie was to make a world that was not dark,” Gurpide says. “Audiences react badly to a dark film particularly if it is a family film. The biggest part of the movie takes place in a seaplane.
“It was a very confined space where we started with few windows. So, we had to find a way to reflect the light in glass off of shiny surfaces. There is a lot of art deco that works very well with this.”
Gurpide’s determination to make the insect world less creepy through lovable and interesting characters plus his use of bright colors were part of his plan to make “Inspector Sun” fun for both young and old.
“There are very clear references for adults in the movie. A lot of the references are meant for the parents,” Gurpide says. “Whereas some of the jokes and references are for kids.
“So, we tried to get this very rich balance between references for kids and references for parents.”