Behind the Scenes: The Character Designs of “Spellbound”

In the world of animation design, it’s typical to go through multiple iterations of a character before landing on the right look. Every aspect of a character’s design is important - the clothes, the posture, the eyes, and even the facial expression tells you who a character is in one look.  

In the early versions of new Amazon Studios test movie, Spellbound, Bastien started out as the dastardly bad guy, not to be trusted. As the story developed, so did the character - he went from being a villainous accomplice of the story’s antagonist to a rogue out for himself, to a rival for Lottie’s affections, competing against another suitor, to the guy we meet in the Spellbound test movie, who thinks he’s only in it for himself, but discovers he’s a hero inside.

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The Making of “Spellbound”: Q&A with Producer Kevin Bannerman

Spellbound, an animated feature film story is the latest test movie released by Amazon Studios. Test movies are videos that help an audience imagine what a story will be like as a finished film. We asked producer Kevin Bannerman (Anastasia, Ice Age) how he approached Spellbound and the evolution of the story. 

How did you approach making the test movie?

The test movie allows us to see if audiences will respond to our “big picture” questions. Specifically, if the movie were to be produced as a full-animated feature, would our viewers be interested in going to a movie theater to see it?

We worked to get the script to a point where the story is clear; we are aware the story still needs further development. Character designs were created early in the process because seeing how the characters look and what their attitudes are help inspire both the screenwriters and the songwriters.

Did direction change from the start of it to the end?

The core story stayed the same but many changes are implemented over the course of development. Originally we had a competing love interest for Lottie but the scenes felt too crowded and we cut that character. The character of Werner was a late addition; Innusha needed someone to talk to so the audience would know what she was thinking.

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Help Amazon Studios Build the Next Blockbuster

Your opinions can influence the movies we make. Watch new test movies for The Detourist and Spellbound and help us decide if they should be seen on the big screen.

More on the movies:

The Detourist

image Charlie thought his biggest challenge was finding a job to support his family…until he stumbles upon a GPS device with the location of a priceless stolen artifact. Will Charlie’s wild Hawaiian adventure to find this treasure with his family solve all his problems?

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Spellbound

image Lottie loves magic more than anything in the world but when her best friend and eleven fellow royals are kidnapped by a vengeful and powerful sorcerous, it’s up to Lottie, a rakish bandit and a traveling salesman to rescue the princesses before the sorcerous can unlock the most powerful talisman in all the land.

Watch now

Check out this new still from Amazon Studios’ kids’ series pilot in production - Hard-Boiled Eggheads. What do you think of the illustration?
More on Hard-Boiled Eggheads:
Miles and Quentin are classified special agents who set out to correct the mistakes of science—monsters made of toxic waste, mutants born of lab accidents and the occasional hostile alien. Hard-Boiled Eggheads, an animated action comedy, was created by Emmy Award-winner Duane Capizzi (Transformers Prime, Jackie Chan Adventures, Men in Black: The Series, and Darkwing Duck). 
Learn more about the Amazon Studios development process.

Check out this new still from Amazon Studios’ kids’ series pilot in production - Hard-Boiled Eggheads. What do you think of the illustration?

More on Hard-Boiled Eggheads:

Miles and Quentin are classified special agents who set out to correct the mistakes of science—monsters made of toxic waste, mutants born of lab accidents and the occasional hostile alien. Hard-Boiled Eggheads, an animated action comedy, was created by Emmy Award-winner Duane Capizzi (Transformers Prime, Jackie Chan Adventures, Men in Black: The Series, and Darkwing Duck). 

Learn more about the Amazon Studios development process.