Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jessica Rabbit

Jessica's supervising animator was the incredibly gifted Russell Hall. 
Russell had been working for Richard Williams for quite some time, and it was decided early on that in order to ensure Jessica's consistency in the animation, one animator should focus just on her.
I remember it took Russell a little while to get a hold of the character, the issue being how realistic or cartoony the design and the animation should be.
In the end he created this Femme Fatale, who left male viewers all over the world sort of stunned and surprised, since they found themselves very much attracted to this animated character…in an obvious way.
Just look at these fantastic animation roughs above!

Here is a group photo with a few members of the Roger Rabbit animation team.
Russell is the one with a white shirt  on the right.

A Christmas card from Russell Hall's studio in London, sent after we had finished Roger Rabbit.
It shows a variety of characters from commercials he animated over the years. All of them great!

Check out this mid 80ies advert Russell animated for Listerine;


  1. Andreas: Love what he did with Jessica and love the animation on this commercial, too. Didn't he do ones with a baby with an adult voice? When I see the model sheet I'm curious. It seemed like when they shot the live action they had a live actress performing to time out the camera movements that were following her on the walk, etc. Did Russell work over this in any way or did he invent all of this? There's Marilyn Monroe-esque stuff I presume he was influenced by from her films ( as well as Bacall and Hayworth.) I have the impression that the design came somewhat from Dick? I thought Dick gave her the big ribcage (not her breasts.) How did the design evolve from where it started? Did it get less cartoony? The final design still seems to have "design" imposed on a real woman ( in a good way...)

    1. I use "Listerine"myself,hihi!.Beautiful animated short.
      Jessica Rabbit is a monster !!

    2. Yes, Russell did do a great talking baby spot. I'm sure you can find it on youtube under R.Williams commercials.
      As far as Jessica, he once in a while used the live action as reference. But a scene in the Ink & Paint Club, when she sits on this guy's lap, squeezing his face, only had a short actress' hands in the stats. Her body was matted out, so Russell could do his own thing, which he did most of the time.
      Oh yes, Dick originally gave her the breast size, plus a tiny waist, as wide as her wrist. That was changed.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I am always so intrigued by the animated commercials of Richard Williams. There is something very artistic and beautiful about each one and he had a studio of very talented men and women to help flesh out the ideas. The Clifford ones you show here are a good example of this idea. But I digress, back to Jessica. That character is probably the most sensual of all the animated characters created. I read in either an interview or "The Animator's Survival Kit" that the movement of Jessica's breasts during a walk cycle was opposite of real life gravity. Needless to say, it definitely worked! What an amazing performance by Russell Hall!

  4. The Thief Archive, a band of former Williams employees having animated with him on The Thief And The Cobbler, have put together a youtube compilation of ads from Willaims commercial house. There are three videos which can be found under the following links:


    The range of style, animation technique and artistic handicraft is astounding. Small wonder the 90s animation renaissance was birthed there.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.