The Washington Post

Spike Jonze and Olympia Le-Tan’s new film, “To Die By Your Side”

Director Spike Jonze and whimsical accessory designer Olympia Le-Tan have teamed up to create a stop-animated film about book characters who come to life, all set in the famous Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company.

Le-Tan designs limited-edition felt clutch purses in the shape of literary classics, and in her and Jonze’s film (titled with a nod to the Smiths), the characters from her Macbeth and Dracula creations leap off of their covers, fall in love and go on adventures. When the skeleton of Macbeth notices Mina from across the crowded shelves, they travel underwater to the belly of the whale in “Moby-Dick” to find their happily ever after. It was all done in stop-animation, with the 3,000 felt figurines cut and created in the designer’s Paris studio. The process, which was a side project for the two creators, took about a year and a half.

The filmmaking duo met through friends, and Jonze asked to buy some of Le-Tan’s work. She told Dossier that she offered him a trade instead: Some of her work, in exchange for a film. They wrote the story together whenever they were in the same city.

Le-Tan designs book covers as a way of recapturing the not-so-distant past of turning physical pages to read.

“I was thinking there were all these beautiful books around and they were being forgotten with everybody on the Internet, so I made it so that you can carry them around,” she told

“I am definitely a star-crossed lover and a hopeless romantic,” Le-Tan said.

There are a few NSFW gestures in the film, which can be viewed on Nowness.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.


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