Oscar 2012: Rob Legato Talks Hugo
Bill Desowitz: So what's your take on Hugo's great acclaim?
Rob Legato: Just the journey, the ride, has been kind of great and that it's been so well-considered. The fact that anything can happen [with the Oscars] and the fact that people have been so kind and considerate and respectful of the work means there is no fear.
BD: And Hugo has certainly distinguished itself among the VFX nominees.
RL: It's such a different type of movie. The other ones are hardware-driven and much more at the forefront than ours. To create the film you had to create an art form in and of itself about the subtlety of what you're doing. And the more subtle, the more it goes into the fabric of the film, and it becomes filmmaking, which is a thing I particularly like.
BD: But you can't divorce the great stereoscopic achievement from the VFX.
RL: Yeah, I keep forgetting, but that's also part of the thing. It got the chance to incorporate the art form of depth and that's huge. That's another part of the equation: the experience in 3-D is akin to another art form. It's as tangible as the set itself or the setting or the way it looks, the tone.
BD: It's a meta-experience.
RL: It almost creates its own art form. There are 2-D movies and now a three-dimensional experience of a film and what is heartening in doing the movie too is the fact that it didn't detract from drama -- it added to drama.
BD: You were able to generate an excitement at a time when there was 3-D fatigue.
RL: It's part of the design of the movie and it needs to be for you to want to experience a three-dimensional film. With this particular movie, it was done with art, taste, and skill and in the hands of someone with Marty's caliber to play against. He gave it instant credibility and then what he did with it means that it can be done and be something that other filmmakers can aspire to.
BD: At one point did you realize that you nailed it?
RL: It was along the way as you start seeing the numbers of the work being incorporated back into the movie and then seeing how it changes the scene. The very interesting thing for me is you go back to try and pay homage to the genius of the past with the genius of the future at your fingertips, and I got as much joy out of something so simple that was the appropriate past version of how you would do something with the latest 3-D technology and the latest compositing tools. It becomes seamless again and it just works. If happens once, you consider it a rarity, but if it happens more than once then you continue to say, "I think I licked the challenge that I built for myself." It takes a while but until it's actually proven to you, you can't stand back and appreciate it.