Talking Tintin with Spielberg and Jackson
Last week I was fortunate enough to visit Weta for the first time in Wellington, New Zealand, with a select group of online journos, where Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg (via polycom from LA) introduced newly rendered footage from The Adventures of Tintin (Dec. 23). The seaplane chase we glimpsed perfectly captures the excitement and slapstick of the Herge comic books, culminating with the drunken Captain Haddock crawling out the plane in a storm and burping fumes into the empty engine. Despite grumbling from performance capture haters, Tintin represents a breakthrough hybrid of caricature and photorealism, thanks to the Wizards of Weta, who've improved facial modeling, skin texturing and the all-important eyes. I participated in a Q&A, part of which follows below, and fired the first question.
Bill Desowitz: What did you learn from the experience of working in this brave new digital world?
Steven Spielberg: I've always learned that the world is not as important as the story, and that is always the case, no matter what technology, what tools we use to frame our stories and to create a tone, even to define a genre or to try and define a new genre, it's always more important to tell a story. Even though this was a very crazy learning curve for me personally -- and a very worthwhile learning curve -- I had actually a blast working on this movie, as I continue to, it always gets down to the basics. All of the dialogue always returns to story, plot, narrative, characters. And especially with the Herge books, our sensitivity in wanting to capture a kind of art form that would be closer, I think, to [his] style in being able to exonerate these characters in a way that, if Herge were with us, he could look up at the screen and say, 'Yep, that looks like Captain Haddock to me.'"