Friday, January 11, 2008

News - 01/14/08...

Ratatouille wins Golden Globe

Congrats to Brad Bird and Pixar. Ratatouille won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature at their non-event/press conference last night.

Oscar Possibilities

Circulating amongst the animation blogs this past week was a very shortlist of possible nominees in the Animation Short Film category. Here’s what Academy members may be considering:

Even Pigeons Go To Heaven (Meme Les Pigeons Vont Au Paradis) (Samuel Tourneux) Animated in CG, tells the story of an elderly man who gets a sneak peak at the hereafter by a con-man minister. Funny. Link

How To Hook Up Your Home Theatre (Disney, Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton) Hilarious traditional hand drawn Goofy short. They nailed it! Link

I Met The Walrus (Josh Raskin) A 1969 recording of John Lennon animated with stream-of-consciousness graphics creates a powerful anti-war message, still painfully relevant. Link

Jeu (NFB, Gerorges Schwizgebel) A beautiful abstract moving painting. This one should be running continuously at the Museum of Modern Art. Link

Madame Tutli-Putli (NFB, Chris Lavis and Maclek Szczerbowski) Incredible stop-mo. A surreal head trip. Great filmmaking - how did they do those eyes? Link

My Love (Moya Lyubov) (Aleksandr Petrov) Magnificent painting on glass technique and a beautiful visualization of first love. Trailer

The Pearce Sisters (Aardman, Luis Cook) Dark, macabre humor with an incredible mix of 2D design and 3D animation. Link

Peter And The Wolf (Breakthru Films, Suzi Templeton) Charming, modern retelling of the Russian classic with edgy stop-mo puppets and realistic settings. Link

All seem Oscar-worthy to me. The final five nominees will be announced January 22nd. Good Luck to all!

Israel loves animation

According to Variety, animated movies are big in Israel filling up six slots in their list of the top ten grossing movies at the box office for 2007 with Ratatouille and Shrek the Third topping the list and Bee Movie showing up as well.

Toy Story takes to the stage

Animation World Network reports that Pixar’s hit Toy Story will be adapted for the stage for audiences traveling on the Disney Wonder cruise ship. “Following the storyline of the original film, Toy Story - The Musical will give the audience a toy’s-eye view of life in Andy’s room, exploring the true meaning of friendship as Buzz Lightyear and Woody transform from jealous adversaries to best friends with an unbreakable bond.”

First image of The Princess and the Frog revealed

Hidden inside the Walt Disney Company’s annual investors report lies the first “real” image of the studios’ 2009 animated feature, The Princess and the Frog, showcasing the film’s main character, Tiana. Meanwhile, David Gilson’s blog presents us with a high resolution, cleaned up version of the image.

The Princess and the Frog will be the first traditionally animated feature in Disney’s animated features canon since 2004’s Home on the Range. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the film will also mark the return of the animated musical with songs composed by seventeen-time Oscar nominee Randy Newman. The animated fairytale is currently scheduled for a US release on December 18th, 2009.

French Horton Hears a Who poster

Animatie Blog showcases the french teaser poster for 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky’s upcoming Horton Hears a Who. The computer-animated film, based on the 1954 childrens book by Dr. Seuss, will stomp its way to US theaters on March 14th, 2008.

Springfield, Vermont museum to host "The Simpsons"

The old Vermont mill town that boasts of being home to the Simpsons will also be home to a museum devoted to the dysfunctional cartoon family.

The Springfield Chamber of Commerce will share space with the new museum on Main Street, according to a report Friday by Burlington, Vermont TV station WCAX. The facility will feature memorabilia from the world premiere of The Simpsons Movie, which took place next door.

"It is a way to help promote travel, hopefully here to Springfield," said the chamber's Patty Chaffee. "We would like to see visitors come because Springfield is a great community, as well as our recognition as our home of The Simpsons. So, if we could use The Simpsons to get travelers here, hopefully they will venture out to see the other great things Springfield has to offer."

The Vermont "Springfield" won over a dozen namesakes throughout the United States to be named the home town of the Simpsons and the site for The Simpsons Movie's premiere.

Elsewhere in Vermont, the Pink Panther gave away a man who was arrested for burglary, according to Vermont State Police.

Ezra Lowe, 23, of Bethel was arrested early Thursday morning. Police allege that Lowe broke into a home through a window and stole a stuffed Pink Panther, as well as an iPod and a flashlight. Police approached Lowe's home and saw the stuffed panther sitting in the front seat of his car.

Lowe has been charged with burglary and possession of stolen property. His court date is scheduled for March.

Blue Sky Studios moving to greener pastures in CT

The digital animation studio behind such feature films as "Ice Age" and "Robots" plans to relocate to suburban Fairfield County, Connecticut, a top elected official in the state said.

With about 300 employees, Blue Sky Studios, Inc. is moving to Greenwich after a wide search in the New York metropolitan area, said House Speaker James Amann.

According to the Norwalk Advocate, the Stamford office of Cushman & Wakefield Inc. commercial real estate told a brokers luncheon this week that Blue Sky leased 106,140 square feet of space late last year at a 625,000-square-foot building in northwest Greenwich.

Blue Sky declined to comment Friday to the Hartford Courant on whether it plans to move from its current location in White Plains, New York, in neighboring Westchester County.

The studio also created the talking fish seen on The Sopranos.

A subsidiary of Fox Filmed Entertainment, Blue Sky would move into part of The Greenwich American Center, Amman said. He said that relocation would take place later this year following the competion of renovations.

Amann said that Connecticut legislators have been talking to Blue Sky Studios for about a year about relocating. The studio will bring $60 million to $100 million in revenue to the state economy, he added.

"This is a wonderful development as we continue to build the media industry in the state," said Amann. "The movie industry has taken notice, and now we are beginning to see an interest in infrastructure investment."

"Blue Sky is a great coup for the state of Connecticut," he said. "It's almost like having a factory. They make four to six movies at a time."

Amann said that state tax incentives helped in bringing Blue Sky Studios to his state.

In July 2006, the Connecticut legislature passed a law giving filmmakers 30% tax credits for productions costing at least $50,000.

According to published reports, about $750,000 in film production took place in Connecticut between January 1 and July 1, 2006. Between July 1 and December 1 that year, the figure zoomed to $52 million. That figure was expected to exceed $500 million in 2007, Amann said.

Officials at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development did not return calls Thursday from the Norwalk Advocate.

Kevin Segalla, president of the Connecticut Film Center in Stamford, said that he went to Los Angeles in 2006 to ask Fox to think about relocating its digital animation subsidiary to Connecticut.

"Blue Sky is a great company. "It's a great win for Connecticut to bring them in. Certainly, they intend to take advantage of the (state) incentives," Segalla said.

Connecticut Film Center, which offers production and other services for the TV and movie industries, is trying to encourage digital animation, visual effects and video game developers to move to the state, Segalla said. "Blue Sky is just the start of what we think will be a movement of digital animation companies coming into the state."

The company has no comment on the Greenwich lease because "nothing is set in stone yet," said a Blue Sky Studio employee who answered the telephone Thursday.

Blue Sky's future plans are "too premature to discuss at this point," a Fox spokesman said.

Greenwich Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Mary Ann Morrison said that Blue Sky Studios has not contacted her. However, she said Greenwich American Centre is a good draw.

"It shows the attractiveness of the American Lane property to large businesses that want to have a campuslike setting close to I-684 and the Westchester County Airport," Morrison said.

CB Richard Ellis real estate represented Blue Sky. A CB Richard Ellis broker said, however, that the company could not comment on the lease. Cushman & Wakefield in Stamford represented the building owner, Greenwich American Centre Inc.

Brad Bird on writing Ratatouille

Over at The Hollywood Reporter’s award season coverage, director Brad Bird is one of the six screenwriters sharing their experiences and approach to how they penned their nominated movies. Bird speaks about coming late to the production of Ratatouille, while of the other scribes, John Logan reveals what it was like adapting Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd for Tim Burton.

New Rigging Book Puts Muscle in CG

Award-winning 3D animator TJ Galda announces the publication of ADVANCED CHARACTER RIGGING, the first of a new series of books on the subject. The initial book explains how to create muscles and tendons using computer graphics software such as Autodesk's Maya, and is designed to make the techniques as accessible as possible, so that even beginners can create and animate lifelike muscles for their animated characters. ADVANCED CHARACTER RIGGING is available through digital publishing site and major outlets such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Following a brief review of major topics related to the creation of CG characters, the book goes on to reveal Galda's new technique for constructing muscles and tendons, a system that reduces the complexity of the task. Galda says, "After being asked countless times about techniques, and having conducted speaking engagements around the world, I saw the need for this series. Creating characters for today's computer animation films is complex, and these books strive to make that process as simple as possible."

TJ Galda has worked as character technical director and studio technical supervisor on films including FANTASTIC FOUR, SHARK TALE, and OVER THE HEDGE, and also oversaw all art production at Electronic Arts Canada. He recently received the worldwide Autodesk Maya Master Award.

Samantha Maltin Atop Nick Integrated Marketing & Partnerships

Newly promoted to the position of senior vice president of Nickelodeon/MTV Networks division Integrated Marketing and Partnerships, Samantha Maltin brings more than a decade of experience in Nick/MTVN brand management to the table. She will be responsible for innovating multi-media, multi-platform, industry relationships across the board for several properties. Maltin replaces Brenda Freeman in this position.

Brenda Freeman Hired into CN Animation Media

In the latest restructuring of big name animation groups, Cartoon Network has brought on Brenda Freeman as the Chief Marketing Officer for the Turner's Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media division. Charged with the building up of new as well as existing businesses for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim properties, Freeman now holds the key to marketing and promoting the vast majority of Turner assets.

Mind Your Business: The Negotiating Battle

In this month's "Mind Your Business," Sgt. Simon fights for a good
contract, offering survival tips for artists.

AWN Headline News


Please meet one of the most refreshingly original and funny animated series I’ve run across in a while: Usavich produced by Kanaban Graphics in Japan. The CG animation is funny beyond words, the gags are jam-packed and fresh, and the design is a stunningly distinctive picture-book illustration style. The show’s website offers 14 of the 26 episodes produced to date, every one of them under two minutes. The entire production is so fun-spirited and well-done, what more can one ask for; I’ve watched all of the available episodes in the past day and still want to see more!

Description is useless for the series. Let’s just say it’s the slightly surreal adventures of an odd couple pair of Russian rabbit inmates who share a jail cell with a frog and a bird. The first season takes place behind bars, the second season follows them on the run in a stolen car. Every episode is solid, and there is a storyline, so it’s best to watch them in order, but two of the most entertaining entries, in my opinion, are this one and this one.

If anybody knows more details about these shorts, please share. The series looks to have some backing by MTV Japan, but there hasn’t been much discussion online about the show so it’s unclear whether it’s new or has been around for a while. I only found out about it the other day on Motionographer. Animator Peter Richardson also posted some praise for the show on his blog. He writes, “[I]t’s tricky to tell which features are in the painted textures and which are shaders and lighting. Perfectly balanced…it goes to show what’s to be gained from a thoughtful and thorough integration of textures and lighting.”

Newsarama Interviews Carey Means About "Aqua Teen Hunger Force"

Newsarama's Animated Shorts has interviewed voice actor Carey Means about his role as Frylock on Adult Swim's Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Means discusses how he got the job, the difficulties of being a voice-over actor, and starts in on what it's like to work on the show.

"Chowder" Creator C.H. Greenblatt to Appear at WonderCon in February

On his weblog, Chowder creator C.H. Greenblatt reports that he will be appearing at WonderCon in San Francisco, CA , on Saturday, Februrary 23, 2008. He will be doing a signing and a panel, which will include a sneak peek screening.

More "League" Talk & Confirmations

Reports mid-week about the "Justice League" project being in trouble seem to have been confirmed according to The Daily Telegraph.

Actress Teresa Palmer is scheduled to fly into Sydney next week to film her role of the villainous Talia al Ghul, whilst most of the rest of the cast is already here, but many of those involved in making the movie have not yet returned to work for the year after their summer holiday break.

Pre-production is continuing at Fox Studios in Sydney, but the script apparently still needs tweaking. The report adds that Judd Apatow regular Jay Baruchel will play the villain Max Lord, whilst model Megan Gale is still very much in training for her role as Wonder Woman.

Neither Miller nor the film's producer, Barrie Osborne, were available for comment. Meanwhile The Hot Topic says that little known actor Armie Hammer may have been cast as a villain in the project and NOT as Batman/Bruce Wayne as previously reported.

The IESB adds that French actor Dominique Pinon ("Alien Resurrection") will be playing a villain as well.

New Pixar Little Golden Book

I’ve been going ga-ga over the Disney and Pixar Little Golden Books for several years now. Jenny Lerew tipped us off to the new Ratatouille tie-in several weeks ago. I couldn’t find it on sale anywhere (I still use Amazon as a last resort), but loyal-friend-of-Brew Dana Gabbard just sent me a copy and now I’m recommending it to everyone.

Pixar and Disney have opted to illustrate Little Golden Books for their current features in the classic style of the 1950s Golden Book artists. This new book, an adaptation of the Pixar 2D short Your Friend The Rat, which was itself an homage to Ward Kimball’s Disneyland educational TV shows, is brilliantly conceived by writer Jim Capobianco and designer Nate Wragg (both of Pixar) and illustrated by ten of Pixar’s finest (including Teddy Newton, Jeff Pidgeon, Scott Morse, et al). Twenty-four pages of artistic genius (including the sheet music for the short’s theme song, Plan B) for only $2.99. This may be the first Little Golden Book worthy of setting on your coffee table next to The Art Of The Incredibles and Cartoon Modern! Here’s the link.

"Robot Chicken: Star Wars" Coming to DVD reports that Warner will release Robot Chicken: Star Wars on May 20th.

The special episode will also contain episode commentary (audio & video) as well as deleted scenes, trailers, and behind the scenes footage.

The episode features the voices of Mark Hamill (Star Wars, Batman: The Animated Series), Star Wars creator George Lucas, Robot Chicken creator Seth Green, Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy), Conan O'Brien (Late Night with Conan O'Brien), Robert Smigel (Saturday Night Live, TV Funhouse, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), Malcom McDowell (Halloween, Superman: The Animated Series), James Van Der Beek (Dawson's Creek, Varsity Blues), Joey Fatone (N'SYNC, The Singing Bee), Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars Episodes 1-3), Bob Bergen (Duck Dodgers), and wrestling great Hulk Hogan (American Gladiators).

Robot Chicken: Star Wars will be out on May 20th.

Veggie Pirates in Box Office Stew

Friday, Universal Pictures released The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie. The CG-animated family film from Big Idea Prods. rolls out in just over 1,300 theaters across North America and goes up against FreeStyle Releasing’s video-game adaptation In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Though they’re not necessarily competing for the same audience, the films seem to be in a dead heat for longest title of the weekend. Also debuting Friday is Sony ScreenGems’ First Sunday, a comedy starring Tracey Morgan and Ice Cube.

Written by Phil Vischer and directed by Mike Nawrocki, the team behind 2002’s indie animation hit Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything revolves around supporting characters introduced in that first movie. A trio of lazy would-be vegetable pirates must rise to the occasion and learn what it means to be heroes when a message from the past sends them on a time-traveling mission to save a royal family.

Big Idea's lucrative VeggieTales franchise began life in 1994 as a home video series that has reached sales of approximately 50 million units. With a built-in audience in place, Artisan’s FHE Pictures decided to release the first movie in more than 1,000 theaters in the U.S., where it grossed north of $25 million. The success lead Universal to get involved with the sequel, which was animated by Starz Animation. Read more about the making of the pic in the January issue of Animation Magazine.

Based Microsoft’s popular video-game series from Gas Powered Games and Take-Two Interactive, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale is directed by the notorious Uwe Boll, whose credits include the big-screen interpretations of such games as Sega’s House of the Dead, Atari’s Alone in the Dark and Majesco’s BloodRayne. The Ed Wood of video game movies, the maligned filmmaker lived out every director’s fantasy last year by challenging his staunchest critics to boxing matches and soundly pummeling them all. Footage of those brawls will apparently be incorporated into his upcoming film treatment of the Postal video-game franchise.

For the Dungeon Siege pic, Boll has managed to assemble a cast with some star power. Jason Statham (Crank, The Transporter) stars as Farmer, a common man who sets out to rescue his kidnapped wife and avenge his son’s death at the hands of an evil sorcerer played by Ray Liotta. The cast also includes Leelee Sobieski, Burt Reynolds, Ron Pearlman, Claire Forlani, John Rhys-Davies, Kristanna Loken and Mathew Lillard.

Like The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, In the Name of the King is being conservatively deployed, rolling out in roughly 1,600 theaters. Taking this into consideration, the pics should have a hard time besting such holdovers as 20th Century Fox’s Alvin and the Chipmunks, Disney’s National Treasure: Book of Secrets and Warner Bros.’ I Am Legend. Warner Bros.’ The Bucket List starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman opens wider and should do quite well with mature moviegoers, while Fox Searchlight’s teen relationship comedy, Juno, continues to build momentum and climb the charts.

Cartoon Italia names Manfio President

Cartoon Italia, an organization dedicated to promoting animation production in Italy, announced that it has a new president in Francesco Manfio, general manager of Gruppo Alcuni. Having served as VP for the past three years, Manfio was unanimously voted into is new post by the members of the executive board during the recent assembly of Cartoon Italia. He has been a highly active member of the board and worked closely with outgoing president Pietro Campedelli.

“The executive board is now determined to do its utmost in order to encourage the growth of this important cultural business sector to guarantee to Italian animation its deserved central role in the European market,” Manfio states. “Furthermore, Cartoon Italia will support the creation of an European Association of animation producers in order to bring greater coherence to professionals in this domain.”

Manfio is an international expert in cinema and television for children. At Gruppo Alcuni, he is the exec producer and co-creator of the series Pet Pals, Leonardo, And Yet It Moves and Slash://, which is currently in production. He is the chairman of P.P.T.V. (the Association of the Theatre Professional Producers of Veneto) and serves on the board of directors of the Veneto Cinema Pro association. Manfio is also one of the founders of the International Centre for Children's Communication, a meeting point between authors, scholars and producers of children's programs that currently has members from 15 different Countries worldwide. In addition, he serves as publisher of Idee (Ideas), an Italian magazine about image education.

Spiderwick Spins to New Date

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies announced today that the release of the vfx-driven family fantasy flick The Spiderwick Chronicles has moved up a day to February 14, 2008. Originally scheduled to debut on a Friday, the movie will instead take a Thursday bow in order to get a jump on 20th Century Fox’s Jumper, a sci-fi thriller, about a time-traveling teenager.

Based on the best-selling series of books by Holly Black and Tony Diterlizzi, The Spiderwick Chronicles has peculiar things happen to the Grace family when they move into the secluded old house owned by their great, great uncle, Arthur Spiderwick. The three youngest members of the family take it upon themselves to investigate the strange goings on and uncover the fantastic truth of the Spiderwick estate and of the creatures that inhabit it. The film stars Freddie Highmore, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright and David Strathairn, and features Seth Rogen and Martin Short in voice roles.

The movie is directed by Mark Waters (Mean Girls, Freaky Friday) and produced by Mark Canton (300) from a screenplay by Over the Hedge director Karey Kirkpatrick, David Berenbaum (Elf) and filmmaker John Sayles (Limbo). Kirkpatrick is also produced the movie, along with Larry Franco and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein. Visual effects were created by Industrial Light & Magic and Tippett Studio.

Lionsgate Gets Barbaric with Conan

Having collaborated to bring Rambo back to cinemas, Nu Image/Millennium Films and Lionsgate appear determined to bring the muscle movie back in a big way. Lionsgate has acquired North American distribution rights to the Conan the Barbarian film franchise based on the books by Robert E. Howard and popularized in the 1980s with two films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Nu Image/Millennium's Boaz Davidson and Joe Gatta are producing the next Conan film, along with Fredrick Malmberg of Paradox Ent., George Furla and Henry Winterstern. Exec producers include Nu Image's Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short and Avi Lerner. Production is slated to begin in Bulgaria this summer or fall. There’s no word on who will fill the loin cloth of Schwarzenegger for this reboot of the saga.

Lionsgate is co-releasing Rambo with The Weinstein Co. on January 25. The bloody action flick has Sylvester Stallone returning to one of his most famous roles on the heels of his success with Rocky Balboa.

Who is Schreiber Playing in Wolverine?

CHUD is reporting that Liev Schreiber is playing Victor Creed (AKA Sabretooth) in the Gavin Hood-directed X-Men Origins: Wolverine and not a young Stryker as was previously believed.

The site adds that Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") is instead in talks for the role of Stryker and that they are eyeing Michelle Monaghan for Silver Fox.

Leading up to the events of X-Men, "Wolverine" tells the story of Wolverine's epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed, and the ominous Weapon X program. Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe.

The movie opens in theaters on May 1, 2009.

Speed Racer Rival Race Car Revealed

Rocket Punch has discovered that the Mach 5 in the Wachowski brothers' Speed Racer will be racing an actual racing team from Japan called "Autobacs Racing Team Aguri" (ARTA). In the film, they'll be driving this futuristic machine that was unveled at the Tokyo Auto Salon this week. It features the actual team number and color scheme of ARTA's Super GT 300 race car.

Click here for pics!

Nothing Happening for Superman Sequel?

Variety's Anne Thompson has written a bit more on the Superman Returns sequel:

No screenwriters are on board. "Returns" writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris opted out of penning "Superman: Man of Steel," and the strike arrived just as other scribes were to pitch ideas. Internally, Warners has moved the release date from 2009 to 2010.

After "Superman Returns" delivered a disappointing box office take of $386 million worldwide, Warner Bros. and Singer debated how to proceed with the next "Superman" pic. The studio even considered rebooting the franchise with someone else.

But eventually WB execs Alan Horn and Jeff Robinov agreed to proceed with Singer at the helm of a $170 million "Man of Steel" packed with more action, a super-powered villain and less romantic melodrama. Before Singer started production on UA's "Valkyrie," WB and co-financier Legendary Pictures closed a deal for him to produce and direct "Superman: Man of Steel."

According to a spokesman for the director's reps at William Morris," 'Superman' is moving forward with Bryan Singer attached." But inside the studio, "Superman" is not on any fast track, and word is that Singer may wind up not directing it.

The article also again mentions that Justice League might not be going ahead until after the strike.

WALL•E Video Game screenshots

UpcomingPixar has posted the first screenshots from the video game WALL•E. Published by THQ and created by Heavy Iron Studios, the video game is based on the upcoming Disney/Pixar’s feature WALL•E which is set to hit theatres June 27.

Toy Story 3 ‘being prepared’

UpcomingPixar, via, reports that according to Tom Hanks, the third installment of the Toy Story films is being prepared and has the full support of the actor, who voices one of the main characters Woody in the film. Directed by Lee Unkrich, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 is slated for a 2009 release.

Bee Movie on DVD in March

DVDTimes reports that Paramount Home Entertainment have announced the DVD release of Bee Movie on 11th March 2008. Arriving in single-disc and two-disc special edition versions, features on the discs are to be anounced. Arriving day-and-date, an HD-DVD release will also be made available.

Avatar Designs Based on Drilling Rig has learned that the distant planet of Pandora in James Cameron's upcoming sci-fi action-adventure Avatar is being based in part on real-life drilling rig the Noble Clyde Boudreaux (pictured here) in the Gulf of Mexico. In the film, the off-world mining colony the actors inhabit will have the look and feel of inner workings of the Boudreaux.

The design team at Cameron's production company, Lightstorm, visited the rig to learn more about how it is all put together. The movie will utilize a blend of live-action photography and new virtual photorealistic production techniques invented by Cameron's team. However, the most believable movie sets (computer generated or real) are based on elements of real environments.

Cameron's design team believed they would find all these elements in Boudreaux. The work of capturing the look, fit and feel of life aboard Noble's newest semisubmersible was left to film industry veterans, Rick Carter, Production Designer and Kevin Ishioka, Supervising Art Director. In early June, Carter and Ishioka got a guided tour of the rig led by Noble's Therald Martin and Rig Manager Frank Febro. During the tour the design team photographed and videoed almost every aspect of the Boudreaux, with the goal of replicating key aspects of the rig's working and living environment.

Of particular interest to the designers were the mechanical systems, crew quarters, ballast control and power plant operations - all of which were measured and documented. Likewise, the team focused on the rig's ultra-modern drilling and mooring systems as possible settings in the movie's mining operations. In total, several hundred photos and detailed written descriptions of the Boudreaux will be translated into both real and virtual sets at a studio in New Zealand. Using images captured aboard the Boudreaux, artists will incorporate new computer generated image technologies to transform the environments and characters into photorealistic 3D imagery that will transport the audience into the alien world rich with imaginative vistas, creatures, and characters.

"The visit to the Boudreaux was a great help to our design process to our efforts in making our sci-fi fantasy believable," said Carter. "You can't make up the kinds of things we learned."

Avatar is scheduled to hits theaters on December 18, 2009. Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Peter Mensah, Laz Alonso, Wes Studi, Stephen Lang and Matt Gerald star in the film, which tells the story of an ex-Marine, thrust unwillingly into an effort to settle and exploit an exotic planet rich in bio-diversity, who eventually crosses over to lead the indigenous race in a battle for survival.

Elijah Wood on The Hobbit and Sequel

MTV chatted with Elijah Wood today about the Peter Jackson-produced The Hobbit and its sequel. Here's a clip:

"I haven't spoken to [Jackson] directly about it [but] I've e-mailed him, and as far as I know, the two films that they're doing, one will be 'The Hobbit' and another will take place between the 60 years that happened between 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings,'" the once and future Frodo enthused to MTV News, possibly confirming rumors that the second planned film would not be a Part II, but instead a narrative bridge.

And would he like to return as Frodo if there is indeed such a role? Find out here.

No comments: