Bill Stallion

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Interview Date(s): 
13 May 1998
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[Transcribed from Joyce Robinson’s handwritten notes. DS]

NB There are no indications where each tape starts and finishes.

Bill was born in Brixton [London] in 1925. He attended Bermondsey School and completed a commercial course before joining up in 1945 with the Royal Signals Regiment; later as a paratrooper. He had an early interest/aptitude in drawing, attending evening classes at Camberwell School of Art. On demobilisation [went?] for a place and a grant at Camberwell. After two-year apprenticeship in commercial art studio, he went freelance- with an agent-, concentrating on ‘figure’ art work and attending St Martin’s Art School three nights a week. Began to illustrate children’s part issue {part-works] magazines and books. Later also illustrated for Airfix model soldiers and posters. He was invited by John Rose to take over story board drawing on Nijinsky [?], as John Bonnimede [?] had died, working under John Box (prod/design) and John Huston, director. Then worked in Madrid on High Road to China for Ernie Dixon (prod/des), with Ernie Archer and Bob Laing. Bill describes storyboard work, the first step on any film, sometimes working ahead of the Director, sometimes from just the script. He names Stephen Grimes as the ‘master’ storyboard artist. The process is a useful tool throughout filming – as a ‘point of departure’ in budgeting, planning special effects, travelling mattes and communication with model makers etc. High Road to China folded and Bill moved on to Flash Gordon – Norman Dorme [?] designer, Mike Hodges, Director. Around the end of 1979 worked on Green Ice, with Roy Walker, Director. Next: The Great Muppet Caper with Ernie Archer, Designer. Followed by Dark Crystal Jim Henson director, 1981. Bill worked on Return of the Jedi; Krull, Peter Yates director, Stephen Grimes, Designer, providing set sketches also. Bill names John Box as most favourite to work for. He worked on The Keep (Box) and The Champions. He remarks that much tact is required of story boarders as they are privy to so many aspects of the work and ‘inside affairs’: a neutral stance is best. Bill was occasionally asked to paint actual pictures for productions, e.g. as in courtroom in A Passage to India. Next came The Lost World, (Albert Whitlock ass prod) – much matte work on this; Bad Medicine; then turned down work on Taipan (in China) three times. Imagine followed, then The Princess Bride; Queen and Country (Channel Four television); Without a Clue; The Rainbow (Ken Russell directing), (Ian Whittaker set dresser); A Dry White Season; Memphis Belle (David Puttnam [BEHP Interview No 600] directing, Stewart Craig Production Designer, Mickey Pluge storyboards). He then worked on Dinosaurs (finally called Company Business); Greystoke a possible sequel which folded; Prince of Thieves; Alien 3, Norman Reynolds producing and Martin Asbury; Princess Caribou; Scarlett (for TV); Crusade, which folded after 4 months work; Haunted (Lewis Gilbert [interview No 386] directing; Working Title [?] The Borrowers, Peter Hewitt, director; Jim Morahan, production Designer and most recently The Avengers: Stewart Craig, Production Designer, Denis Rich, Tony Wright and other storyboard artists – some frames on this were computer generated.

Bill ends on thoughts on unions, and on retirement.



Bill Stallion is  retired storyboard artist  who  is best  known for his work on Flash Gordon (1980) The Great Muppet Caper ( 1981) ,  Dark Crystal (1981). Krull (1983), A Passage to India ( 1985 ) , The Lost World, Memphis Belle (1990), Robin Hood  Prince of Thieves (1991), Alien 3 (1992)   , Haunted (1995),The Borrowers (1997)