2024 Sundance Film Festival: 10 Lives Cast and Crew talk about the upcoming animated film

The animated feature 10 Lives had its premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. We had the chance to sit down with Director Christopher Jenkins and stars Mo Gilligan and Simone Ashley to talk about the film.
'10 Lives' Sundance Clip - Eat'n and Sleep'n, It's the Best Life Ever
'10 Lives' Sundance Clip - Eat'n and Sleep'n, It's the Best Life Ever / Animation World Network

The 2024 Sundance Film Festival has arrived, and I will be covering the festival for Hidden Remote. I kick off my festival coverage with a sit-down conversation with Director Christopher Jenkins and stars Mo Gilligan and Simone Ashley, who talk about their film 10 Lives

10 Lives follows the story of Beckett, a pampered cat who takes for granted the lucky hand he has been dealt by his rescue Rose, a warm-hearted and passionate student. After losing his ninth life, fate steps in to set him on the transformative ride. Mo Gilligan voices Beckett, while Simone Ashley voices Rose. 

One of the things that tend to be lacking in recent animated films is the heartfelt aspect that these films can deliver. This is where Christopher Jenkins and the team of writers get right with 10 Lives. You have a well-balanced film that delivers some truly hilarious moments, but the battle Beckett faces in the movie is heartwarming and full of redemption. The animation is stunning, and Mo Gilligan and Simone Ashley deliver fantastic turns as Beckett and Rose. It's one of the best animated movies of this decade. 

Hidden Remote sits down with Director Christopher Jenkins and stars Mo Gilligan and Simone Ashley to talk 10 Lives.

Hidden Remote: Christopher, what about this story/script made you want to bring it to life? 

Christopher Jenkins: It's got a wonderful heartfelt message. It's about animals and I really love animals. So you set up all these different characters and let them go off in the world until they finally come crashing together at the end. I love that kind of story, Fawlty Towers was my inspiration for that sort of comedy and the other influence was It's a Wonder Life, probably because it's the first movie I saw with my mum. As the movie became complete, it has an emotional value and sort of a spiritual value that I really like.

Hidden Remote: Mo, This was your first dive into the world of animation; what about the character Beckett made you want to voice the role? 

Mo Gilligan: With Beckett there were so many layer to him. I got to be Beckett the kitten, who was love and in his home being pampered. So the more I got to voice it, and understand the character, the more I got excited and wanted to give him more of a personality. There's times where we were recording and I would say, how would Beckett say? How would he huff, or sigh, and that for me was the most exciting thing about voicing Beckett. Sometimes you can have a character where it is make-believe, but it's also a cat, so there's loads of people who have cates who are like, oh yeah, my cat would do that.

(c) 10 lives productions
10 Lives Production /

Hidden Remote: Simone, there is an empathetic nature to Rose within each layer of her story, how do you approach that when working within an animated film? 

Simone Ashley: I always found it really easy to connect with animals. I grew up watching a lot of animated movies and always personified them. So I think I've got a lot of empathy for animals. In the booth, obviously with Chris's amazing direction and his generosity allowing me and Mo come into his world he created with Rose and Beckett, I just wanted to work as hard as Chris and everyone else and just bring the imagination, the emotion when you're in the booth.

Hidden Remote: This is a question for each of you; we see Beckett turned into a variety of different animals throughout the film; if you could choose to turn into an animal, what would it be?

Jenkins: I'm a dog person, I think I studied dogs enough to know going in what to do. I'm a dog lover, I love otters too, but yeah a dog.

Gilligan: I love otters. I find them so fascinating. The fact that they just float on their backs and eat clams or something like that. When they go to bed, they sleep, and they hold hands so they don't lose each other. That's so cute. So I'd probably be an otter, if not then a sloth. They look like me on a Sunday just taking my time.

Ashley: I'm torn between a baby seal or a penguin, penguin actually because they slide on their bellies. And I love Happy Feet, and when it came out years ago, they were both sliding on their prom night or whatever. So yeah, I'd like to be a penguin.