Eric Darnell

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Not to be confused with Erik Darnell.
Eric Darnell
Born 1961 (age 55–56)
Prairie Village, Kansas
Occupation Film director, animator, screenwriter
Years active 1989–present
Notable work Antz,
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Spouse(s) Laura[1]

Eric Darnell (born 1961)[2] is an American director, writer, songwriter, animator and occasional voice actor. He is best known for co-directing Antz with Tim Johnson, as well as co-directing and co-writing Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted with Tom McGrath.

Life and career[edit]

Darnell was born in Prairie Village, Kansas.[1] He attended Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, Kansas, where he was a writer for the school newspaper the Harbinger. He studied broadcast journalism at the University of Colorado at Boulder.[1] After graduating in 1983, he spent four years working on experimental films in his basement, which helped him get accepted into the Experimental Animation program study at the California Institute of the Arts.[1] Meanwhile, he directed the music video for the 1989 R.E.M. song "Get Up".[1]

After graduating in 1991, Darnell joined Pacific Data Images,[1] where he worked as a character animator on the 1991 Hanna-Barbera Halloween special The Last Halloween. He also animated and directed the short film Gas Planet, which won Ottawa International Animation Festival Special Jury Prize.[1] In 1995, he left PDI to join DreamWorks and work on research and development for The Prince of Egypt.[1] In 1996, when DreamWorks merged with PDI, he was assigned to direct his first feature film Antz.[1] The film, released in 1998, marked the studio's first computer-animated feature film, and the second computer-animated feature film ever.[1] He then worked as story artist on the 2001 film Shrek, for which he also wrote the song "Welcome to Duloc."[3]

Darnell and Tom McGrath directed Madagascar in 2005 and its sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa in 2008. He was co-writer for the Christmas TV special, Merry Madagascar. Darnell also co-directed Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted with McGrath and Conrad Vernon, which was released on June 8, 2012. He co-directed, with Simon J. Smith, a Madagascar spin-off, titled Penguins of Madagascar and released on November 26, 2014.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Darnell lives in Campbell, California with his wife, Laura, and their son, Rex, and daughter, Leah.[1][5]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Berls, Scott (Spring 1999). "Little-creature feature". University of Colorado Boulder. Archived from the original on May 18, 2003. Retrieved November 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Darnell, Eric, 1961-". Library of Congress. Retrieved October 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Shrek". American Film Institute. Retrieved December 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (August 5, 2013). "Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich Join 'Penguins of Madagascar' (Exclusive)". The Wrap. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  5. ^ Peterson, Judy (May 28, 2012). "Take a trip to 'Madagascar,' and support YSI". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved November 23, 2013. 

External links[edit]