Gondry Talks Green Hornet
MG: Well, on set Seth had written a very funny sequence when he was talking to himself and trying to piece things together. And I thought I had to find something funny visually to solve this problem. And I wanted him to have a similar kind of experience with time and space as Kato. I couldn't find what it was until the very end of the shooting. Then it became clear to me when we were redoing the lighting for the flashbacks that they should each have a different perspective, and to show that I just changed the lighting and made it a little like Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. But this was not enough so I had this idea one weekend: What if in every flashback he retains one element that adds up to something much bigger? Like scenery, that will illustrate how his father really died? And I had shot most of the elements and thought, "Here we can use the bee. Here we can use the tree on fire. Here we can use the house. Here we can use the hair off camera that will become the fire of the house." So I had the art director build me a set that was crazy with bushes and the house was on fire that was made out of wigs and we had this huge syringe. All those elements were part of scenes we had seen before and then I wanted to make very smart transitions between each of them. I had done a complicated drawing and I had no hope that Neal would let me do it because it was very late in the shooting and we had to wrap the movie. But I talked to the art department and they were very game to do it. Neal looked at my drawing and said, "I don't get it -- but just shoot it!" And it was funny because it was the most absurd scene shot on this big studio movie.
MG: Yes, everything was there physically but you needed the transitions done in CGI, which makes them even harder to achieve. But what's important is that you start with something that's real and when your brain tells you that something is fabricated, you're able to mix it up like magic in unsettling the audience. And I think I played that a lot and it's really fresh.
BD: What did you think of working with stereoscopic 3-D?
MG: We had a super hard time to make it perfect. But I used it as a tool to tell more of the story and it was really fun for me to play with.
BD: Like the split screen effect, which was multi-dimensional and economic?
MG: Yes, you're right. I was able to save them the dimensionalization, which is a big part of the work, but they're just going to give me 16 flat screens in a different space that keep moving. And that was kind of easy to do but was very effective for the brain. It's confusing but it was a split- screen in the third dimension. I was so excited by that advent.
MG: I'm doing some stuff in animation: I like to keep my hands in more personal things without dealing with many meetings and pre-production. And a live-action project I'm shooting next summer about kids on a bus in South Bronx.
BD: What kind of a concept is the animated project?
MG: The idea is to do something very alive like a conversation and do animation on top of that, so it's a contradiction between something that's going in every possible direction but the animation, which is controlled frame-by-frame.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.