Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is one of the the most delightful films of the year so far, and a key factor in that is the titular tiny mollusk’s way of finding joy in his own little life. Almost nothing makes him and his grandmother Nana Connie happier than tuning into 60 Minutes every week, so naturally, it’s overwhelming when Lesley Stahl ends up interviewing Marcel himself. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Stahl opens up about the process behind her and the 60 Minutes crew playing themselves in the A24 film, released last month.
For director Dean Fleischer Camp, making Marcel The Shell With Shoes On was a seven year effort after his initial short film went viral in 2010. Incorporating 60 Minutes was a significant part of the process, starting with getting producer Shari Finkelstein on board before approaching Stahl. Then, it took even longer to get clearance from CBS to use the show’s studio and branding.
“I actually thought it had gone away for good and I assumed that it wasn’t going to happen because if it were, I would have heard something,” Stahl says.
While eventually shooting the film’s faux segment with the real 60 Minutes crew was sort of like just another day at the office, having to interview a one inch-tall shell was a decidedly novel experience. Though the journalist was speaking to voice actor Jenny Slate on set, it wasn’t exactly a typical set-up.
“She laid on the floor at my feet,” Stahl remembers. “She may not remember, but she had a serious issue with her back. She was in pain, this poor girl, and was lying flat on her back at my feet. And she was hilarious.”
If Slate shares any of Marcel’s adoration of 60 Minutes, then the discomfort must have been worth it. To the shells, there is nothing else on TV, and the program is simply referred to as “the show.”
“I had no idea what was coming or that I was being described as ‘fearless’ and ‘heroic,’” Stahl recalls of her first time watching the film. “I was stunned and a little embarrassed. I blushed. No one saw it because we were in the dark. Shari was there, and I had invited some of our colleagues to come and see it with me, but then I was embarrassed that I’d asked them to come see such a love letter to me. I was really surprised.”
Ultimately, the veteran reporter has felt empowered by her part in the story, and she looks forward to seeing it again with her grandchildren.
“The whole experience of seeing it has been out-of-body,” she adds. “There were these waves of connections within my body about being presented the way I was. It’s thrilling.”
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On is in theaters now.