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Sheridan Graduate Directs and Co-Writes: The Nut Job

The Nut Job: Sheridan College: Oakville News
The Nut Job: Sheridan College: Oakville News

The Nut Job opens in theatres today – and behind it is Peter Lepeniotis, a 1992 graduate from Sheridan’s Classical Animation Program. Lepeniotis worked on other feature films like Toy Story 2 before creating his own animated short in 2005 called Surly Squirrel, upon which his new movie is based.

The Nut Job is a story about a belligerent squirrel that organizes a bank-style heist on a nut shop to help him atone for earlier evils.  It features the likes of Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl and Brendan Fraser.  As Co-Writer, Lepeniotis had some clout in selecting the artists.  “I thought we’d get some local Canadian talent and I’d have been happy with that as long as the story worked, but the guys at Toonbox kept saying let’s make this a big movie.  I always envisioned Will Arnett as Surly.  Thankfully when he read the script he said he loved it and that he wanted to be part of the film.”

In addition to Lepeniotis, two other Sheridan alumni, Daryl Graham and Morgan Ginsberg worked on the film as Director of Animation and Supervising Animator.  “While I did the broad strokes, they took care of the details, helping to facilitate my vision and ensure that the animation was up to great standard” said Lepeniotis.

More of Lepeniotis’ favourite behind-the-scene moments on the making of the film can be found in this story:

This is the fourth major, animated film to be directed by Sheridan alumni in the last calendar year, with the others being Escape From Planet Earth, Turbo, and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2.