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In addition to being one of the greatest directors of all time, Steven Spielberg is a true geek god. From ET to Close Encounters to Indiana Jones, the man is a genre movie legend. That said, he’s never made his way down to San Diego to the place where geek gods are worshiped: Comic Con. That changes this year.
I am currently sitting in Hall H for the first time this year ready to cover the The Adventures of Tintin: The secret of the Unicorn. I’ll be live blogging the entire time, so be sure to keep refreshing this page!
11:06: Spielberg is receiving the prestigious inkpot award and they are starting by showing a montage of all his films, both the good and the bad (*cough*Indy 4)
11:08: Full sword-swinging-gunshot scene from Raiders gets a great reaction. Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Close Encounters, Jurassic Park, ET, Indy - it's all here.
11:09: Spielberg enters, gets a standing ovation from absolutely everyone in the room. Big shocker there.
11:10: Spielberg thanks the crowd for the award, saying that its because of the fans that he's here. Says he feels like he should be out in the audience with us instead of up on stage. Never wants to grow up.
11:12: First question: When did you come to Tintin? Spielberg crowdsources the audience to see who in the audience has read one of Herge's books. Apparently Spielberg got into it when Raiders was getting comparisons to Tintin. Couldn't read French, but understood the story and saw the connection.
11:14: Indy is like Tintin in the sense that Tintin is a journalist who becomes fully invested in his work much like Indy gets involved in his search for archeological treasures.
11:15: Talks about the casting. Spielberg says you won't see Daniel Craig, but he is already in there. Didn't know at first if it would be live-action or motion capture. Went to WETA to see a test. Here's the test footage!
11:16: Peter Jackson on screen as Captain Haddock! Playing with a digital snowy. Dressed as a captain with the blue shirt. Says he knows all of the dialogue. Stummbling and drunk. Drops a bottle, snowy gets drunk lapping up the liquor. "Haddock" then jumps in after him.
11:18: PETER JACKSON IS HERE!!!!
11:19: On working with Spielberg, Jackson says that Steven has real promise and that if he sticks with filmmaking he could be really successful at it.
11:20: Spielberg says the biggest challenge was by trying to bring exactly what is in the comics on to the big screen. Jackson says the idea of the look was to create the characters in a 3D world while also making it a hybrid of animation and live action. Characters have these faces that you could never find in a real human being, but they have the real texture and detail of humans.
11:20: Wanted to create a level of filmmaking that let Steven jump into the world. Steven had a virtual camera and was able to make it as though it were live-action.
11:21: Filming in the volume with motion capture suits, Spielberg could look at the world of Tintin live as he was filming.
11:22: Steven compares making the film to being a painter because he had so much control over every element. Jackson says that Herge made the film very much like storyboards. He saw Tintin as brother he never had that was going on the adventures that he wanted to go on (though he didn't want to get shot at)
11:26: Jackson says there's a love of Hollywood and silent films built into the books. Time for the footage!
11:32: While I'll fully describe the footage later, I was actually kind of amazed how really adult the movie seems. The opening scene has a man getting shot at Tintin's doorway. A ton of action. The 3D looks absolutely amazing. Animation detail almost looks real and seemingly no uncanny valley effect. Impressive stuff.
UPDATE! Here's my description of the footage:
First scene has Tintin at his front door, which has a chain lock on it. A man on the otherside is begging Tintin to let him in, but Tintin refuses. Gunfire rings out and the door is blown open. The man takes a few steps forward and collapses dead. Tintin runs outside and sees a blue car speeding away. He calls to a woman saying that there’s a dead man at the door and she says “Another?”11:33: The movie has a lot of handheld and Steadicam shots, making it look like a real live action film.
11:35: Spielberg says that it's a dense detective story, action, comedy when it needs it. Says Jamie Bell was Jackson's suggestion (he previously worked in King Kong) and is Tintin through and through.
11:36: Jackson says this is the only film in which Nick Frost and Simon Pegg could play twins. He's not wrong.
11:37: Spielberg says that not every film should be made with performance capture, but that this one calls for it and if we want to see a return and get Jackson behind the camera we should see this one.
11:38: Spielberg says the first time he met Jackson was shaking his hand at the Kodak Theater when handing Jackson his Academy Award.
11:39: Jackson on The Hobbit: "Hobbit? What's that?" Says he's having a hell of a time, enjoying more than he thought he would and is having a blast. Interesting way to make a movie like that. Resume shooting in three weeks. Sixty days down, 200 to go. Sent out they wanted to cast Martin Freeman as Bilbo, and they have to pause because of Sherlock, but it's worth it.
11:40: Spielberg keeping his upcoming projects straight: Operate on 5 or 6 different projects. Loves doing multiple projects. Thinks directors lose objectivity and feels he can leave Lincoln, go to post-production on War Horse and gets perspective. Benefit to him, not a deterrent.
11:40: ANDY SERKIS IS THE FIRST AUDIENCE MEMBER TO ASK A QUESTION! Asks if Daniel Craig met Clint Eastwood while wearing motion capture tights.
11:43: Question about idea for external Jaws. Doesn't want to give Universal an idea for another Jaws with somebody else. There are three movies, leave it at that. There's a coffee table book out with interviews with those that were present on Martha's Vineyard during the shooting of Jaws.
11:44: Question about how their own childhood helped their films: Jackson says he's still a kid. Everything that he loved from 6-17 (trains, movies, etc) he's still obsessed by. Has no new interests since. Afraid some people think that's sad. Wants to make movies for the kid he is and will always be.
11:45: Comparison of Beowulf to Tintin: Spielberg says technology has moved up and that no there is an actual anatomy so the facial equivalent of an emotion and intensity is absolutely lifelike. Calls the quantum leap the Na'vi in Avatar. Had the benefit of the animators.
11:46: Little kid at the mike asks Spielberg what is favorite movie to make was: Spielberg says it ET was his favorite movie to make. Says it convinced him to have children because of the family atmosphere.
11:49: What movies that you produced do you wish that you could have directed?: Spielberg says that he wishes he could have directed American Beauty. Had the script and his wife threatened divorce if he didn't make it (obviously that didn't happen)
11:50: Spielberg's job as producer: to go away. Says his favorite job as producer was the Back to the Future movies.
11:50: Spielberg says what keeps him going is us. Sometimes we love him, sometimes we don't, but it keeps him honest
11:52: Jurassic Park 4 - there is a story idea announced, there is a writer developing the script. Hopefully in the next 2 or 3 years.
11:52: They chose the Tintin story because they wanted to include the introduction of Captain Haddock. Clipped in a scene from Crab With The Golden Claws to develop that part of the story. Secret of the Unicorn feeds into Haddock's backstory.
11:57: Jackson says the way to become a filmmaker is to just go out and make a short film
11:58: Guy at the microphone has a shirt asking if he can shake Steven Spielberg's hand. It's not mentioned, but Spielberg invites him on stage to do it. Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg both start taking pictures of him, rotating around him and getting all angles. Guy says, "I just wanted to know if you still use film." Spielberg says, everything else is on film, except for Tintin because there is no film involved.
12:00: End of the panel, Spielberg and Jackson get another standing ovation. They owned this crowd. Now to wait for the next one!
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