Getting into their heads – Headspace

12 September 2023
It is about the triumph over evil using friendship and love.
animated boy and alien

When he was 7 years old, Paul Meyer, co-director of the movie Headspace and Luma Animation CEO, started drawing flipbooks in the corners of dictionaries. A year later, he started to animate on a computer his dad bought him. “I dreamt of being an animator since that time.” 😎

Fast forward to today, that desire is a reality. Headspace, the fun, family-friendly animated movie releases in cinemas on Friday 15 September. Started by another studio, Meyer and his team acquired the rights to finish it. “Once we got stuck into the story, we realised that there was a lot we could change to help [it] and make for a more entertaining film.”

Gerhard Painter, Headspace co-director and creative director at Luma Animation, says he has been in design and animation for 25 years. It is almost as if his surname foretold his passion. 🤓 He says their initial plan was to improve the look of the film.

The heart of it

The film’s premise is a charming blend of science fiction, comedy, and action. When nanosized crime-fighting aliens take up residence inside 14-year-old Norman’s brain, they work together to save Earth from an evil intergalactic villain, Zolthard.

Painter says if he could be a character in the movie, he’d be Norman. He explains: “I'm a bit of a dreamer too and often disappear into the weird and wonderful worlds that games and books provide.”; while Meyer says Max is his alter ego because he is a typical dad guy. He confesses that he can do the character’s voice really well and “in fact, I did actually record one of his lines … I won't tell you which one but see if you can tell.”

The movie, says Painter, has good old wholesome values and it shows that teamwork can achieve anything. Meyer echoes the same sentiment, saying the message of the movie is that we’re in this together. 

“This is a story about being uplifted and motivated even when one feels incapable of moving forward or not equipped,” Painter adds. They agree, the themes in the movie are universal: love, friendship, and the triumph over evil.

Moving forward

Wondering what’s next for Norman and his friends, Meyer says it is best to wait and see. “Question is, how do we deliver more of the same and what do we add [or] change – or is the sequel all about Norman and the gang helping our alien friends to make it back to their own planet? All while still trying to apprehend Zolthard?”

Painter says: “Our heroes in Norman's head are only beginning to understand what they can achieve through him and Zolthard has not been dealt a final blow yet.” He smiles when asked if it’d be zombies, dogs, or witches in Norman’s head, should there be a sequel.

They both give different answers when prompted to choose between living on an alien planet with them or having aliens live on Earth. Meyer smiles and says: “Let them come!”, while Painter says he likes change. “Give me a new environment with new challenges!”

Headspace invades cinemas on Friday 15 September. Meyer says it is a good escape and provides bellyfuls of laughter. Painter describes it as a really good locally-made entertaining rollercoaster ride. “We should celebrate it!”

Much like that 7-year-old Meyer, we’d imagine, is celebrating. 🙌

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