Here we are at the press conference for The Adventures of Tintin with the big man himself Steven Spielberg and his surprise guest Peter Jackson out at Comic-Con. The duo just finished premiering their new footage for the film at their panel in Hall H which seemed to be very well received. Now we’re here, front and center getting video of the magical duo talking about their latest film. Check out our quick update directly after the press conference with highlights followed by our videos of the press conference (coming soon!) below. And until then, you can check out a newly released photo from Paramount of Tintin below…
(Note: this is a live transcript, there are some areas that have yet to be expanded on and possible typos. Please stand by for completion.)
Talk about using motion-capture on this film, and why you decided to use it?
PJ: The thing that we wanted to do… motion capture is not a genre, It’s a tool it’s a technique, we really tried to use motion capture and traditional animation. Steven or I, who are more adept to live action, we wanted to be able to walk into this work with the characters and location, pick up the camera and shoot a live action movie inside this photo real world — it’s the way that we can shoot a movie inside of that world, which is pretty interesting to me.
SS: The medium is not the message but the character and the plot is. You’re going to forget if it’s 3D or 1.85… if any movie is working, how it was made will be the least of your concern you’ll only have a good time.
Most actors love having their costumes and set to help them work, what challenges did you face with your actors not having that?
SS: I’ve always found that that the costumes, and wigs in, lets say a live action drama, even though it gives them a sense of ambiance and evironment… it all comes down to the actors looking each other in the eye, that’s where the story is told. Actors need actors to act together. So after looking at each other in the suits with motion capture things on their faces and laughing at each other for 10 minutes and getting that out of their system, they’re performing characters, and looking each other in the eyes which is the secret to great acting. That’s great acting. They’re skills see them through, not what they where or who they are.
Is Prof Calculus in this movie?
PJ: No he’s not. He doesn’t yet make his appearance, but if we’re lucky enough to do more movies there’s opportunities for more stories,.
SS I’m just really glad you know who he is!
Is it easier to make movies now in the digital era or do you miss your youth?
SS: It may be a digital era in terms of certain kinds of movies, it’s still an analog era in terms of telling the story. There’s nothing more important to either of us than the story.
Obviously you’re a fan of the series, but what can you bring to fans of the series and fans of you?
SS: I hope Peter is scheduled to direct the next film which does include Prof Calculus and I look forward to working with him how he just worked with me, as he supported me in every creative decision I made, everything from [the details] in the start and to sitting here with you.
How do you avoid the “Dead Eye” problem that can come with the territory?
PJ: When you’re casting and shooting, that’s the most important thing, any great actor knows how to use their eyes and as a filmmaker I love those huge close ups. When I was doing “LOTR,” in New Zealand, we built the eyes that we used in a scientific way, we studied them (goes into detail)… with “King Kong” his eyes told you everything. And “Avatar” the eyes were critical there. I agree with you, with Tintin, our cast had to be as expressive as in any live action film.
What is it that touched you about Tintin?
SS: He’s an intrepid reporter who does more and gets into trouble (he expands).
PJ You never give up once you start, which is what you got through when making a movie too!
In the story, there’s a lot of him falling into a hole, how did you avoid that, or make it cinematic?
SS: Tintin does fall in a hole! But he gets up quick enough to allow the story to continue. There’s a lot of plot, look at the books, there’s a lot of narrative. In the middle of all that forward motion we take the time to let the characters have a relationship with one another. And time to why Captain Haddock drinks and is the man he is today (go back to that). It was important to take rest stops to get to know the people involved.
What do you do when you’re on a project and you realize that you’ve made a mistake? No one can always be right!
SS: I have a lot of those. I’ve never had that when the film is half-shot. When I have realized that, I have embarked on that project and made those movies. (He expands)
PJ: When you start a film, I shut my eyes and imagine the movie finished, even the music, but then the process you’re constantly discovering new things all the time. Production designers, DPs, it’s always evolving. With Tintin the process was even more stimulating because it starts with a simple animation and you’re slowly layering and layering it.
What did you learn from working with one another?
PJ: The things that surprised me, thinking about his huge body of work that’s effected all of us, I thought that he would have a kind of a process… but what I discovered, which was delightful, is that he walks onto the set and it’s like his first time to walk on a film set. There’s a childlike excitement that he brings onto every film…
SS: He doesn’t let anything rattle him, to where he becomes locked into indecision. He’s a problem solver, he looks at things from several different angle and then picks the best solution to the problem,… if I was more like him, I’d save myself a lot of footage! He has a great sense of seeing the big picture and achieving that emotional moment. We were like to code-breakers trying to figure this code out together, and once we realized that, there was no competition, just two Tintin fanboys trying to bring this movie to you!
What do you see as the 3D future, since people are so used to it? Or does it really enhance?
SS: I’m hoping that 3d gets to the point where people stop noticing, so that people see that. And then ticket prices will drop to the level of 2D. To show a 3D next to a 2D move, hopefully the price will come down which will be fair to the consumer. Not all films should be shot in 3D, I wouldn’t shoot a romantic type film with it. The last great one that I saw, which I’ll mention even though I was a part of (laughs), was “Transformers 3″ which was the most amazing experience I’ve had since “Avatar“. People who do it just to commercialize, they should care how to do it better, and bring collaborators and other directors who know how to use it, to help teach them, because it’s not a fire and forget tool (he goes on and expands), it takes a lot of very careful consideration.
PJ: Obviously after “Avatar” it survived for a while, but audiences have realized that their are bad movies that can be in 3D which is more expensive then the one in 2D. There’s a natural human response, which has to do with the increased ticket prices (he expands). With the right movie it can enhance the experience. It can make a great film really amazing to see! Something has to be done about the experience.
And now we’re beginning to get ready to start. Sadly we won’t be able to bring you video directly as Paramount has given it the boot BUT we will bring you photos from them soon!