It took Jim Capobianco and Robert Rippberger a dozen years to get THE INVENTOR made, and it was well worth the effort. When I spoke to them via Zoom on September 13, 2023, my first question was what kept them going through the ups and downs of financing and the other myriad issues that crop up when producing any film, but especially one that uses both stop-motion and hand-drawn animation in the age where computer-generated is the norm.

The story, set during the last years of Leonardo’s life, humanizes the ultimate Renaissance man, showing a polymath who never lost his enormous curiosity about universe, nor his drive to understand how everything in it worked. Ditching Italy for France, he finds more intellectual freedom in the court of Francis I, and a kindred spirit in his sister, Princess Marguerite of Navarre, voiced to perfection by Daisy Ridley, who becomes his partner in designing an ideal city to impress the kings coming to visit Francis. There he comes to terms with the limited time he has left to him, while never losing his passion or his imagination.

We went on to talk about including Marguerite, a diplomat, author, and poet in her own right, in the story, as well as the admirable qualities of a puckish subplot involving a wildly inventive, but ultimately misguided, plan to move Leonardo’s Last Supper from Italy to France. We finished up with Jim explaining how he chose images from the embarrassment of riches that is Leonardo’s work.

 Jim speaks first, and then Robert.

The film stars Stephen Fry as Leonardo along with Marion Cotillard, Matt Berry, Gauthier Battoue, Max Baumgarten, Natalie Palamides, Ben Stranahan, Jane Osborn, John Gilkey, Angelino Sandri, Daniel Swan and Capobianco himself as the Cardinal of Aragon.

Robert Rippberger produced THE INVENTOR, and his previous work includes THOSE WHO WALK AWAY, 7 DAYS IN SYRIA, STRIVE, and PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE, which won Best Documentary Feature Film at the Seattle Film Festival.

Capobianco directed by from his own script and his previous work includes  MARY POPPINS RETURNS and an  Oscar® nomination for RATATOUILLE.