Fans of Aardman Animations—the UK stop-motion house behind Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and many other beloved properties—got a scare last week when news circulated the company might actually be running out of the highly specialized clay used in their productions. This week, Aardman tried to allay those fears.
The story originated in The Telegraph, which put forward a slightly histrionic report claiming that Aardman was low on Lewis Newplast plasticine, a type of clay with nylon fibers that make it ideal for stop-motion filming. (The clay is malleable but retains shape without additional finishing steps like glazing.) The material, which the studio has used since its inception in the 1970s, is no longer being manufactured by Newclay Products, the supplier; Newclay closed its factory in March.
The Telegraph went on to say that Aardman purchased Newclay’s remaining inventory, which was just enough to complete work on a new Wallace and Gromit project. (The stock amounted to about 900 pounds, or roughly half of what’s typically needed for a feature.)
The outlet reported that Aardman stated they were “unable to comment” on the story at the time of publication. This week, the studio posted a statement that painted a more encouraging picture.
“We are touched about recent concern over the future of our beloved clay creations, but wanted to reassure fans that there is absolutely no need to worry. We have high levels of existing stocks of modeling clay to service current and future productions … with plans in place to ensure a smooth transition to new stocks to continue to make our iconic productions.”
The Telegraph noted it was likely Aardman will seek a new source for clay similar to Newplast. In any case, there was plenty of material to finish their latest film, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, which premieres December 15 on Netflix.