Marcel The Shell Director Shares How Isabella Rossellini And Lesley Stahl Of 60 Minutes Got Involved With The Project

One of A24’s latest movies is Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, a coming-of-age mockumentary comedy centered on Marcel, a one-inch talking mollusk who wears shoes and finds hope in an online community invested in his journey to find his long-lost family. The movie is based on a 2010 short from Dean Fleischer Camp and Jenny Slate, and somehow this feature involves Italian actress Isabella Rossellini and 60 Minutes interviewer Lesley Stahl. How the heck did this unique combination all come together? 

When CinemaBlend spoke to Marcel the Shell writer/director Dean Fleischer-Camp, he shared how these two major, but very random individuals, made their way into the sweet film. Starting with Isabella Rossellini, the filmmaker said: 

Well, we have really wonderful producers that probably did a good amount of convincing. Isabella, she was perfect for the role, but I didn't even know how perfect until we started working with her. She really does live on a farm. She has a masters in animal behavior. She is a grandmother, all these things that were already part of Nanna Connie's character as we developed it, but became so much more real and specific once once Isabella joined and once we got to write the character around her and once she started owning it and improvising in certain ways that really I think make the character just really, really deep and really wonderful. And I think we got lucky that Isabella's a real artist and she just wants to make work in ways that she's never done before she gets offered things all the time that she turns down, cuz they're sort of more traditional, but this, I think she saw, you know, whatever our ragtag little project brief was at the time and was like, I'm gonna figure out what these kooky kids are up to.

Isabella Rossellini is the daughter of Casablanca actress Ingrid Bergman, and was notably a Lancome model, along with being in numerous movies such as Blue Velvet. The actress is choosy with the roles she signs on, only starring in a handful of projects in recent years. But Marcel the Shell not only sold her, the character was “perfect” for many other reasons personal to her own life. In the movie, Rossellini plays Nanna Connie, Marcel’s grandmother. Dean Fleischer-Camp also spoke to Lesley Stahl’s involvement, saying this: 

Lesley Stahl was a different story. We came up with this idea of having Lesley Stahl. We never had anyone else in mind. I even have my old storyboards of me drawing Lesley Stahl from way back before, when it seemed the most remote possibility that she would say yes. And luckily our producer, Liz Holm, had an in at 60 Minutes and was able to get a very early version of the film in front of her. And she was charmed by it and joined up just totally game. [Laughs]

Of course Lesley Stahl has been a reporter/host on 60 Minutes since 1991, and has given a number of high-profile interviews in her time. The 80-year-old doesn’t often appear in movies, but for Marcel the Shell, she got to interview the mollusk himself during the movie. 

It sounds like maybe Marcel the Shell is a tough project to say no to. I mean, have you seen that shell’s adorable face and how he talks? It’s enough to break your heart and put it back together all at once. The movie has received incredible favorable reviews, including CinemaBlend’s own Eric Eisenberg, who gave Marcel the Shell With Shoes On a perfect five out of five. He called the movie “touching and hypnotizing cinematic work that has been made with extraordinary craft.” 

Jenny Slate, who voices Marcel along with being a co-writer of the screenplay, is already ready for more of the shell with shoes on, recently saying “there’s a lot more to explore there.” What happens there relies on whether we support the 2022 new release in theaters. Marcel the Shell With Shoes On is currently playing in limited theaters and is set to go wide on July 15. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.