Entertainment behind the scenes
Wes Anderson partly directed his animated “Fantastic Mr. Fox” using a computer, streaming images from multiple animation sets live on to a screen in front of him, allowing him to guide animators from another room, town, or, more often, country. That guidance often came in the form of emails, something which did not endear the film maker to some of the animators, according to a recent piece in the L.A. Times. George Clooney provided the voice of Mr. Fox, and London’s Three Mills Studios carried out the paintstaking, old-fashioned stop-motion animation.
Meanwhile, Peter Jackson used iChat to co-direct the upcoming, big-budget feature “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn”. Actor Nick Frost, who plays Thomson in the film, said Jackson would be linked up live to the U.S. set from New Zealand, from where he would add to Steven Spielberg’s pearls of wisdom on set. “It was weird”, was his description of the experience. The blockbuster will feature motion capture technology, producing the kind of effect seen in “The Polar Express”.
According to Hollywood trade publications, while Spielberg was on set for just over 30 days, Jackson will have spent the best part of 18 months converting the data into an animation movie by the time it hits theatres some time in 2011. The balance has led some to question whether Jackson should be given the directorial credit rather than Spielberg. It also raises the possibility of more and more movie makers spending less and less time on set, particularly where animation is concerned.
The way the movie biz works these days is that a good idea is not enough to raise the hands that raise the money to make a film, you’ve got to have a big-name cast. So, when you have a good idea, you go around and try to cast it because — the theory goes — a big movie star lures audiences into theaters. Then, when you’ve added one or two big names, the money gets behind production and off you go. But what “old Hollywood” has long known – and too often gets ignored – is that the movie should be the star, and when it is, box office follows.
If you’ve got a good movie, it almost doesn’t matter who is in it (see “Slumdog Millionaire” or “Twilight” when it opened). This weekend’s No. 1 movie, “Disctrict 9″, proves that old axiom once again. Made by South African director Neill Blomkamp and starring Sharlto Copley (he’s no Brad Pitt), the alien adventure raked in $37 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices over the weekend, and it was made on a relatively low-budget of $30 million. Read our box office report here.