An animated white mouse with large ears, tucked into bed

The Tale of Despereaux

Gloriously entertaining and visually stunning, The Tale of Despereaux is Framestore's first ever feature animation. Created by an animation team led by Executive Producer David Lipman, (Producer of Shrek 2), the film was created in the company's London premises using a largely European talent-base. Despereaux does not look like anything else out there, employing a palette and lighting drawn from the Dutch Masters rather than the primary colour splashes used by most modern CG films. The final product is strikingly beautiful, and refreshingly different.

Animation Supervisor
Visual Effects Supervisor
Storybook Design
Animated Features
The Tale of Despereaux is one of the most beautifully drawn animated films I've seen, rendered in enchanting detail and painterly colours by an Art Department headed by Oliver is a joy to look at frame by frame.
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
baby despereaux tilling looking up while laying in a cot

The Cast

The film has attracted an astonishing array of actors to voice the characters, offering a depth of casting rarely seen in feature animation. The all-star line-up includes Emma Watson, Dustin Hoffman, Matthew Broderick, Frank Langella, Kevin Kline, Robbie Coltrane, Ciaran Hinds, Christopher Lloyd, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Tracey Ullman and Sigourney Weaver as the story's narrator.

despereaux's family gathered around a cot
close up of despereaux's father

The Story

The Tale of Despereaux tells the story of several unlikely heroes: Despereaux Tilling (Matthew Broderick), a brave mouse banished to the dungeon for speaking with a human; Roscuro (Dustin Hoffman), a good-hearted rat who loves light and soup, but is exiled to darkness; Pea (Emma Watson), a Princess in a gloomy castle who is prisoner to her father's grief; and Mig (Tracey Ullman), a servant girl who longs to be a Princess, but is forced to serve the jailer (Robbie Coltrane).

Tiny and graced with oversized ears, Despereaux was born too big for his little world. Refusing to live his life cowering, he befriends a Princess named Pea and learns to read (rather than eat) books, revelling in stories of knights, dragons and fair maidens. Banished from Mouseworld for being more man than mouse, Despereaux is rescued by another outcast, Roscuro, who also wants to hear the tales. But when the Princess dismisses Roscuro's friendship, he becomes the ultimate rat and plots revenge with fellow outsider Mig. After Pea is kidnapped, Despereaux discovers he is the only one who can rescue her…...

perspective from inside of a cot as four mouse characters from despereaux are looking inside

Number Crunching

  • There are 40,089 individual assets in the film
  • 25 hero characters were modelled, surfaced and textured, as well as 12 secondary characters
  • 60 hero environments were modelled, surfaced and textured
  • There are 413,138 individual hairs on Despereaux's head
  • 1726 final shots were delivered
  • The film has 126,248 frames altogether
  • The biggest delivery in one week by Framestore's team was 335 shots
  • The team delivered 1200 shots during the last month of production
  • At its peak, Framestore's crew reached 278 members
close up of despereaux wearing a red hat and blue jumper holding up an arm looking determined

Framestore and Despereaux

Framestore commenced preproduction on Despereaux in 2006, although the creation of a feature length animated film had been a long nurtured aim for company CEOs William Sargent and Sharon Reed. The company initiated an unprecedented recruitment drive in order to staff the Despereaux team, attracting artists and technicians from both the UK and all over the world to their specially created London studio in Wells Mews. In addition, people already at the company moved over to join the Despereaux team, bringing a unique array of insight, experience and expertise to the project.


Production Company
Executive Producer
David Lipman, Ryan Kavanaugh, Robin Bissell
Gary Ross, Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen
Executive Producer (Framestore)
William Sargent
Production Company Producer
Allison Thomas, Gary Ross