Do you remember the early years of YouTube? Compared to the onslaught of professional and non-professional content available on the platform today, YouTube even a decade ago seems so innocent. So pure. A place where bored teenagers can post silly videos of themselves doing stunts and unknown artists can test and share new material.
Marcel the shod shell first captured the hearts of netizens in 2010. The lovable character, voiced by the inimitable Jenny Slate, embodies an era of YouTube that I could very well romanticize: quirky, quirky, and authentic. Now, 12 years later, the sweet shell is getting its own feature film.
The animated mockumentary follows the titular Marcel as he searches for his place in the world. The stop-motion film will also feature what feels like an autobiographical story about heartbreak and breakups, reflecting the relationship between Slate and her ex-husband Dean Fleischer-Camp – the pair worked on the character and the story before and after their amicable separation in 2016.
After the successful 2010 short film, the duo developed three short films and two children’s books, Marcel the shod shell: things about me (2011) and Marcel the Shell: the most surprised I’ve ever been (2014). In all three, Slate voices the character and Fleischer-Camp directs.
The new film, which will premiere on June 24 by A24, will also feature actors like Isabella Rossellini, along with Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann and Lesley Stahl – and it has already received winning reviews at film festivals.
Since their split, Slate has married artist Ben Shattuck, and the two welcomed their first daughter Ida Lupin in February 2021. While promoting her Amazon show I want you to come back, Slate has explained in several interviews that motherhood “really took me by surprise,” noting that she thought she would be “sucked up” in the caregiving role.
Instead, she found the opposite, and this motherhood helped her become the best version of herself, creativity and all. She even lets Ida guide the way, as she explained to She.
“How can I let my child’s gentleness, courage and curiosity be the torchbearer of who I want to be? A little baby doesn’t need to be defensive, bragging or flattering. There is a lot to learn from the little sage who is a baby.
And apparently there’s a lot to be learned from a little seashell trying to find its way in the world. Watch the full trailer for Marcel the shod shell below.