*He is the son of Nike founder, Phil Knight.
He released a rap album as Chilly Tee, in 1993.
And this month, he makes his directorial debut on, “Kubo and the Two Strings.”
Animator, Travis Knight, sat down with EUR and talked about this rap career, childhood, and how he relates to Kubo.
EUR: Kubo is a musician and music is a big part of his daily life…is there a little bit of Chilly Tee that lives in Kubo?
Travis Knight: WOW! There’s a blast from the past! It’s funny because as you are developing these stories, you find parallels between the characters you are creating and your own life. Kubo is an artist, a storyteller, a musician, and an animator really… During the process, I was like, ‘Oh my God he is me! How did that happen!’ However, Kubo like an Orpheus character, he can make divine music, I am not that good. But you do bring yourself to the process and that gives it meaning. The more personal or intimate you can make it, the more universal it becomes. It’s a weird paradox we found as we’ve been making films. I was a very lonely kid and the one thing that made me feel connected to people was books, movies, art and music and that’s what we try to do here. We try to inspire that kind of connection.
EUR: What did you take away from working on “The Boxtrolls,” “ParaNorman ,” and “Coraline” that pushed you creatively and helped you create “Kubo?”
Travis Knight: When we started developing “Kubo” it was by far the most ambitious thing we’ve ever done. We’ve never attempted anything at this scale. There was a moment of hesitation like, ‘ok, can we really do this?’ But having worked with this team and knowing how game they are for the challenge and how excited they are to build these incredible worlds, gives you confidence.
EUR: How did you push the envelope this time around? How did you “out create” yourself?
Travis Knight: “Kubo” in its bones, is this big sweeping fantasy epic, which is incredibly challenging when you are shooting on a table top! That is how you make stop motion animation. We wanted to make it feel like an epic endless majestic vista, so that required us to have these big pulse-pounding action sequences, where the camera is moving all over the place. There is a raging storm on the sea, there are giant monsters emerging from the shadows…all these things are really challenging but because we figured out a lot of this stuff on previous films, we were able to apply those learning’s.
EUR: What was your favorite animated character as a kid?
Travis Knight: I probably liked some weird Ray Harryhausen stop motion monster! My favorite animated film when I was a kid was “Pinocchio.” A lot of people forget how dark that movie was. It was unsetting but beautiful and moving. The great classic Disney films that I loved.
“Kubo and the Two Strings” dances into theaters August 19.