How did a young man from Ardee, county Louth end up directing one of this years biggest animated movies? Movies Plus sat down to speak with Fergal Reilly about making ‘The Angry Birds’ movie, the pressures of such a gig, as well as what it was like working with what must be 2016’s most-impressive cast-list, including Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Peter Dinklage, Bill Hader and Sean Penn.
Fergal started his career as ‘graphic design & illustration’ student at the Dun Laoghaire College of Art and Design (now IADT) where he was head-hunted by renowned animator David Brain; Reilly left Ireland for America at the age of 19 and found himself working for Walt Disney studios as assistant animator on films like ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ and ‘Prince and the Pauper’.
He returned to Dublin to finish art school and later worked as an animator for a small studio in Dublin called Animedia, while also teaching Animation at Senior College Ballyfermot. A chance advert in The Irish Times resulted in Fergal moving back to America to work for Warner Brothers on a number of films like ‘Space Jam’, ‘Osmosis Jones’ and ‘The Iron Giant’. He was among the first animation artists to bounce between live action and animated movies. He later worked on films like ‘’Stuart Little and ‘The Haunted Mansion’, before being hired by director Sam Raimi to help visualise the action set pieces for Spiderman 2.
This month see’s Fergal make his directorial debut with ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ alongside co-director Clay Kaytis. Upon the initial announcement of Reilly and Kaytis’ being handed the reigns of the animation, Rovio Entertainment’s CEO Mikael Hed declared, “I’m very excited that Fergal and Clay have joined us, bringing with them their vast expertise. They are two of the brightest rising talents in animation, and I’m confident we are building the right team to tell the story of Angry Birds and deliver an amazing movie experience to our fans.”