netflix viewers who broadcast”ollie lost“, a new live-action series based on by William Joyce book “Ollie’s Odyssey,” will be treated to a sweet story and an epic adventure centered around one of the most unlikely places: Shepherdsville, Kentucky.
How Shepherdsvillepopulation of 14,797, became the setting for the new four-part miniseries is 100% the result of the Kentucky man who adopted the story from Joyce’s book and produced the show for Netflix.
Shannon Tindle grew up in Shepherdsville, graduated from St. Xavier’s Secondary School (1988-1992) and participated in the University of Louisville and California Institute of the Arts (1997-1999.) Tindle made a name for himself in the film industry as an animator, writer, producer and director working on feature films such as “Coraline” and “Kubo and the two ropes.“At the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2006, Tindle won the Emmy Award for “Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation” for his character design on “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends“, broadcast on The Cartoon Network.
“I’ve always loved cinema,” he says. “When I was growing up I obsessively watched the entertainment section of the Sunday Courier Journal because it had Showcase Cinemas movie listings. I always think of the smell of newspaper and I’m so excited to see adverts for ‘The Empire Strikes Back‘ ‘HEY,’ and ‘The Raiders of the Lost Ark‘, all my favorite movies. It was my favorite section because we didn’t have internet.”
His love of cinema eventually led the Kentuckian to Los Angeles, where he worked for Cartoon Network Studios, DreamWorks Animation and Laika studios in Portland, Oregon. Although his job keeps him based on the West Coast, Tindle never misses an opportunity to return to Shepherdsville to visit family and friends. And when it came time to pitch the movie executives his concept for “Lost Ollie,” he was adamant that the show would be set in the small town, which none of the executives had heard of before.
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“It was important to me to set the story in my hometown of Shepherdsville because it’s not a place where you expect to see fantasy,” Tindle told the Courier Journal. “I felt like it would be amazing for kids and families to see a fantastic game in their hometown because in a small town you don’t think about what might be in that corner or in the shadows. Seeing characters move through these environments is really powerful. Shepherdsville is very important to me and I hope people who grew up where I grew up see themselves in the show.
The four-part series is a heartwarming tale for the child in us all, remembering those special souls we lost but changed our lives forever. “ollie lost” tells the story of a lost toy who braves the many dangers of childhood as he travels the countryside to find the boy who lost him. It is also the story of the boy who lost more than a best friend. The cast includes Jonathan Groff, Mary J. Blige, Tim Blake Nelson, Gina Rodriguez, Jacques Johnson and Kesler Talbot.
“Everyone on the show is amazing,” Tindle said. “They are the nicest people in the world and it was a joy to work with each one of them.”
While writing the show, Tindle called his mother and put her on speakerphone so the writing staff could better understand the dialect of someone who lives in Shepherdsville. He also used his 94-year-old grandfather as inspiration.
“In addition to Shepherdsville, you’ll also see the Louisville skyline on the show’s promotional poster,” he said. “In Episode 2, the Ohio River and The Beauty of Louisville are important. You will see the Salt River make an appearance and Highway 44 which features prominently in Episode 3. You don’t live in Shepherdsville and drive Highway 44.”
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Very famous occupants of Bernheim Forest (who could be giants) also make an appearance in “Lost Ollie”.
“Bernheim Forest has always been a very special place for me,” Tindle said. “We did a night shoot there. We shot for 12 hours and it was amazing.”
Tindle who served as creator, writer and executive producer, said he was surrounded by some of the best crews in the industry while making “ollie lost“, including the show’s Oscar-winning director Peter Ramsey (“Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse“), who also serves as an executive producer.
“Lost Ollie” premieres on Netflix on August 24, and Tindle hopes enough viewers enjoy the show that a second season is ordered.
“I have ideas for Mammoth Cave if we get a second season,” he told the Courier Journal.
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But first, Tindle will complete the first CG animated feature”Ultramanfor Netflix. Tindle grew up watching the superhero cartoon battling kaiju after school in Kentucky on Channel 41. Now he’s making his directorial debut with the highly anticipated feature ‘The Ultraman’. .
“We’re deep into the process, but the animation is taking a long time and we’re still about a year away,” he said. “‘Ultraman’ couldn’t be more different than ‘ollie lost‘ but I made sure to have Kentucky nods in that movie too. KFC is huge in Asia and I made sure to include some nods to The Colonel (Harlan Sander) in “Ultraman”.
Reach Features reporter Kirby Adams at [email protected]