Entering the Imaginarium of Terry Gilliam
JPD: That only lengthened the script. There was scene with Jude Law and Andrew Garfield sitting in a sort of bound out landscape, which all the viewers seem to think was real that Richard put together that we shot at about a 10th scale and stuck behind and all the flaming bits behind there were all actually miniatures. That extended to allow for some expositional narrative to fill in what was going on. Aside from that, I think Terry said only three lines were changed in the movie, which is a bit weird. The mask that Johnny Depp wore, for example, was always part of what was going to happen. And that really turned out to be a godsend in terms of helping the transitions when you came out the other side. But it was a bit strange because it didn't change the narrative that much -- he was always going to be a different person when he got to the other side of the mirror, and in a funny way, it was almost like it was planned that way, and that's why it works.
RB: Luckily, we shot some camera tests and costume tests of Heath, who was prancing around in front of bluescreen. And Heath was playing with the mask and we used bits of that for the transition when he's actually inside the wagon. So we used costume test. It was really fortuitous that he was doing exactly what we needed to help that transition.
JPD: We used a lot of miniatures, and it surprised me about all these viewers going on about computer animation and stuff. "Wouldn't it be great if Terry used miniatures like he did in the old days?" They seem to think that the miniatures are CG and they're not. There's a fairly substantial miniature content in there -- and, in fact, there's a huge 80-shot scene that got dropped out of the movie half-way through for editorial and narrative reasons that had some incredible miniature work in it. Miniature, CG, heavy compositing. I think we used every software known to man in the end.
The reality is this was a very low budget movie -- between $20 million and $30 million originally. I can't really go into our bit a bit, but it wasn't much. And the miniature budget for Leigh Took, the supervisor, was even smaller. All the scaffolding around the monastery was actually coffee sticks that we nicked from Costa Coffee because it was cheap. That's how tight the budget was.
But to get the other stuff working we used Maya, we used XSI, we used Houdini, we composited on Shake, we composited on Fusion, we composited on <Inferno>, we road tested the software. Patrick Ledda, our head TD, wrote a bunch of stuff to make the snake, Mr. Nick, work.
JPD: Hey, we could draw.