Sean Lennon is best known in music circles. The 36-year-old son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono has released three solo albums, as well as two full-lengths with girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl under the name Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (GOASTT). He played with Cibo Matto, collaborated extensively with his mother and worked with The Strokes' Albert Hammond Jr. Right now, he's in the studio producing Muhl's new project, Kemp and Eden, which will be released on their record label Chimera Music.
What people might not know, though, is that Lennon is an animation buff. He animated his own video for the song "Would I Be the One," a T. Rex cover that appeared on his album Friendly Fire, as an homage to Fantastic Planet (La Planète Sauvage). He also translated and sang music for the French animated film A Monster in Paris, which premieres on the West Coast March 10 at the Los Angeles Animation Festival.
Lennon is actually artistic director for this year's five-day event and has chosen several of the works screening at LAAF. We recently chatted with him by phone about his selections and A Monster in Paris.
The recent subject of ongoing debate over its planned Hollywood remake (and Hollywood remakes of anime generally), Akira is a landmark film that holds a special place in the heart of many animation fans. Lennon is no different. Having attended kindergarten in Tokyo, he was exposed to Japanese animation and comics as a child, and was reading Katsuhiro Otomo's manga Akira before the film was released. Otomo also directed the original film.
"I really thought that it lived up to the comic," Lennon says. "The director was the original creator, so it wasn't like it had been taken out of the hands of the creator. It was consistent in tone."
Beyond that, Lennon, like so many others, feels that Akira marked the beginning of a new era in animation.
"There was this sort of gravitas that hadn't really been seen in animated films before," he explains. "It was something with the tone of Blade Runner."