Dartmouth resident Jenny Slate's 'Marcel the Shell With Shoes On' to make big-screen debut

·3 min read

A tiny, googly-eyed mollusk with even tinier shoes is getting ready to make a big splash on the big screen this week.

The beloved "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" — which first won over the hearts of the internet masses in a short film in 2010 and is now getting his own feature-length flick — is the creation of a familiar actress with SouthCoast ties.

Marcel is the brainchild of actress, author and comedian Jenny Slate, who lends her voice to the sweet shell, as well as filmmaker Dean Fleischer-Camp.

Slate, a Milton native, lives in Dartmouth with husband Ben Shattuck, an accomplished writer and artist who serves as curator at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery in Westport, and their daughter Ida. Shattuck and his brother, Will, also co-own Dartmouth's landmark Davoll’s General Store.

Ben Shattuck and Jenny Slate attend the Los Angeles premiere of Amazon Prime's "I Want You Back."
Ben Shattuck and Jenny Slate attend the Los Angeles premiere of Amazon Prime's "I Want You Back."

In “I Want You Back," which dropped on Amazon earlier this year, Slate stars alongside Charlie Day, another actor with local roots. Most-known for his role in the FX sitcom "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Day grew up in Middletown, Rhode Island.

Real estate report: Tiny Swansea home (416-sq-ft) on tiny lot (.1 acres) sells for tiny bit

Slate's latest project by A24 is an animated mockumentary that follows Marcel — a 1-inch-tall shell — as he looks for his place in the world.

Slate and Fleischer-Camp first brought "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" to life 12 years ago as a three-minute, stop-motion animated film about a tiny seashell talking about his life.

For something so small, Marcel has made quite a huge impact over the years.

The video went viral on YouTube and the duo, who were dating at the time, went on to develop another two short films — in which Slate voices Marcel and Fleischer-Camp directs — as well as children's books.

Marcel won Best Animated Short at AFI Fest 2010, and also snagged Grand Jury and Audience Awards at the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

The official movie poster for "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,"  opening in theaters June 24, 2022.
The official movie poster for "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On," opening in theaters June 24, 2022.

The new feature-length film, set to release June 24, is voiced by stars like Isabella Rossellini, Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann and Lesley Stahl (Marcel and his grandmother are big fans of "60 Minutes").

According to the film's description on A24: "Marcel is an adorable, 1-inch-tall shell who ekes out a colorful existence with his grandmother, Connie, and their pet lint, Alan. Once part of a sprawling community of shells, they now live alone as the sole survivors of a mysterious tragedy. However, when a documentary filmmaker discovers them, the short film he posts online brings Marcel millions of passionate fans, as well as unprecedented dangers and a new hope of finding his long-lost family."

Does camping have to mean 'roughing it'?: Tiverton tree farm offers a 'glamping' getaway

The movie has been seven years in the making because filmmakers had to make it four times, said "Marcel" creators in a recent CBS News interview.

The first round was a complete audio soundtrack, storyboards were added in the second version, then they filmed the empty backgrounds for the movie without Marcel, before the Marcel puppet was animated a frame at a time and added into the backgrounds.

Though it doesn't hit theaters until Friday, it's already gotten rave reviews and is currently one of the highest-rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 100% Fresh rating.

"A thoughtful, inventive, and poignant family flick that made me shed many tears. This adorable mollusks journey to finding his happy place again is so sweet that I wanted to spend more time with him," according to one of several reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

"Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" first won over the hearts of the internet masses in a short film in 2010 and is now getting his own feature-length flick opening in theaters June 24, 2022.
"Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" first won over the hearts of the internet masses in a short film in 2010 and is now getting his own feature-length flick opening in theaters June 24, 2022.

Another reviewer states: "By the film's end, it feels like the cinematic equivalent of a hug."

One critic called it "an old-fashioned crowd-pleaser in shiny new packaging, the kind of film that cinephiles can ditch the sitter for and just experience with their kids."

Check out the official trailer for "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k98Afd7Nf3Y.

This article originally appeared on The Herald News: Jenny Slate's viral 'Marcel the Shell' gets feature length film