With a magic suitcase and a drive to do the story justice, Mark Osborne and countless artists brought Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s story, The Little Prince, to the screen. The story of the little prince is one that means many things to many people. For some, it is a childhood story, to others a parable of life and death, for many it warns of the dangers of growing old and losing your imagination. But for all who love it, it is sacred and Osborne and his team had the unenviable task of not fucking it up.
This book breaks down that massive undertaking. Osborne first worked with artists to create a “magic suitcase” filled with a prop book and models of planets and stars, that he used when pitching the story to executives and creatives. To protect the story of The Little Prince, Osborne created a larger narrative where the older version of The Aviator is now passing the story of the little prince to a little girl who’s struggling to deal with the idea of growing up and what that means. The use of this larger narrative helps keep Saint-Exupéry’s story intact while also illustrating for the audience the impact of the little prince’s story. Because of the dual narratives, the movie uses CG and stop motion animation, with both elements playing on each other to connect them. For example, the stop-motion characters in the little prince’s story are echoed in the CG animation when The Little Girl goes on her adventure. The Art of the Movie gives the reader an in-depth look into the storyboards, the CG modeling and 3D figures that were used for the stop-motion animation. The artists and storytellers involved created a masterpiece that honors the original story and puts it into a context for viewers.
The book is filled with Easter eggs and nuggets the audience may have missed. For instance, the school the Little Girl attends is called Werth Academie. I thought that was a play on the idea of proving your worth but it is actually a nod to Saint- Exupéry’s best friend, Leon Werth, whom The Little Prince is dedicated to. The look and feel of the tome is also exemplary. The front cover, which shows The Little Prince and The Aviator in the desert is textured and grainy, while the back cover, which shows a picture of The Little Prince and his Rose, is glossy. The illustrations and photos inside are beautifully organized and enhanced by the stories from the artists and the director of the film along with a foreword by Jeff Bridges, who was the voice of The Aviator in the film. More than anything, this book is a thank you to the many hands and minds that went into creating this essential work. From the stories to the various concept sketches to the storyboards; everything was created, refined and perfected. Anything that was scrapped, inspired something else to move the story along. And it was all in service of bringing this beloved story to life.
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” – Antoine de Saint- Exupéry