How I Got Here: Andy Gent

We talk to puppet maker Andy Gent about working on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and Fantastic Mr Fox, and how stop motion animation is in a golden age, much to his surprise and delight

Puppet maker Andy Gent is perhaps most famous for his work on Wes Anderson’s stop motion epic feature Isle of Dogs. Over three years in the making, as Head of the Puppet Department on the film, Gent and his team created thousands of models. He has also worked on other movies including Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Henry Selick’s Coraline, as well as hundreds of stop motion commercials. Below he talks to CR about getting started, how every detail counts, and the place of the puppet hospital in a stop motion production.

On his early beginnings in model-making My dad’s a cabinet maker. A very high end cabinet maker. So from nine I was encouraged to know how to make things and build my own toys. The first thing I ever built that I remember was an AT-AT Walker out of pine so I had this giant thing and could play with all of my Star Wars figures with my friends, which has got to be a significant trigger as I can remember that. Then I was fascinated with making little mechanical toys, I got hooked on that pretty quickly. But all manner of making models and painting figures … I remember that as a kid.

Below: Episode 25 of the CR podcast, where Editor Eliza Williams speaks to Andy Gent about his craft, in his east London studio