Jenny Slate (The Secret Life of Pets, Obvious Child) has teamed up with co-creator Dean Fleischer-Camp (Fraud, Rubberhead) to delight us with a feature length mockumentary Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, taking a deep dive into the world’s favorite sneakers-sporting shell with a heart of gold. We even have a new mollusk family member, as they introduce Nana Connie portrayed by Isabella Rossellini. See the first look of the pint-sized household.
The short films that made our favorite shell a household name follows a shy, honest little mollusk with shoes Mr. Potatohead could wear and one googly eye, voiced by the ever-charming Jenny Slate, who is being filmed by her then-husband Dean Fleischer-Camp. Marcel’s playful charm and vulnerability were so captivating, the world needed to know more about his tiny little world. Slate and Fleischer-Camp obliged us with two New York Times bestselling books, ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me’ and ‘Marcel the Shell: The Most Surprised I’ve Ever Been.’
Unless you’ve seen Marcel in his little world, he might be hard to envision. Jenny Slate has this to say of Marcel. “There’s a lot of unanswerable questions in Marcel’s world, like how old he is, or where he was born,” Slate continues, “He has a gender, he’s male, but it’s important for these other questions to remain unanswered. Just like how in our world, we don’t have an answer for everything.” If you haven’t been introduced, allow me to show you the first short as a primer.
The new feature length mockumentary was a surprise treat that delighted the viewers at Telluride. The official synopsis has us jumping into the present as “Marcel follows down-and-out documentary filmmaker Dean (played by Fleischer Camp, who also serves as the film’s co-writer and director), who moves into an Airbnb and quickly discovers that he’s not alone. Marcel (Slate, who also co-wrote the screenplay), an adorable one-inch-tall shell, already lives there with his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini) and their pet lint, Alan.” Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann, and Lesley Stahl (as herself) round out the film’s cast.
“What I love so much is that the original impulses that made Marcel who he is (my impulses as a performer, Dean’s as a director) have always stayed true,” says Slate. “The filmmaking process was careful and deliberate, very creatively open, and extremely hopeful at its core. I’m really glad that, especially right now, we can finally offer this small and astounding sweetness to the very big world out there.”
“Expanding Marcel’s world in this way is a dream I’ve been working toward for many years, but we took our time because he means so much to us,” Dean Fleischer-Camp says. “We felt a responsibility to do it right, and I think we did!” Marcel the Shell with Shoes On premiered at The Chuck Jones Theater at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival. It is currently seeking U.S. distribution. I can’t wait!