According to French outlet Focus on Animation, Sylvain Chomet’s Swing Popa Swing has been cancelled. The news broke in March in an SPFA (Syndicat des Producteurs de Films d’Animation) newsletter.
The first image for the highly-anticipated prequel to The Triplets of Belleville was released in January 2013, generating excitement among fans. However, both Les Armateurs, the studio behind Triplets, and Chomet’s IMDB page no longer list Swing Popa Swing among their upcoming projects. The film was originally slated for a 2014 or 2015 release.
Chomet’s career began with short films. The French auteur cemented his style with the terrifyingly Kafka-esque short, The Old Lady and the Pigeons (1997). Subsequently, he rose to international acclaim with the surrealist masterpiece, The Triplets of Belleville (2003).
Triplets was a movie that traded standard dialogue for physical humor and refreshing charm. Aesthetically, it combined a distinctly hand-drawn look with the advances of computer animation and singlehandedly put French animators back on the map. Chomet then followed Triplets up with his bittersweet ode to Jaques Tati, The Illusionist (2010), which garnered similar critical acclaim.
Last year, Chomet made his feature-length foray into live-action with Attila Marcel (2013). After screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the film was released in France. Unfortunately, despite solid buzz from critics, Atilla Marcel failed to make waves at the box office.
While the cancellation of Swing Popa Swing is terrible news for Chomet fans – this author included – it should be noted that the director has taken on a new project in its stead. Variety reports that he will be helming The Thousand Miles, a live-action/animation hybrid movie “inspired by various works and unpublished writings/drawings of Federico Fellini.” And unlike Swing Popa Swing, which was rumored to be a 3D CG film, the animated segments of The Thousand Miles appear to be more in the 2D style of his older work.
The Thousand Miles is set to release in early 2015.