Oscar 2012: William Joyce Talks Fantastic Flying Books
BD: Working very hard to make it look easy.
WJ: Exactly. I was reading P.G. Wodehouse, who wrote all those Jeeves stories, and he said it took him 90 drafts to make something look like he'd just written it.
BD: What's it been like writing Morris as a book after doing the short and the e-book app?
WJ: You know -- it's a curious thing. This started out as a book, which I got sidetracked before we could finish and then we did the short. It's very close, but, as with the app, it's a different experience. And, for once, I thought it was the reverse of how the book was so much better. There was so much that we had to leave out that was in the movie. There were whole sections that we couldn't get into a picture book unless we wanted to do a graphic novel. I didn't want it to be a perfect replication of the movie anyway. We painted all the pages; they're not screen grabs, and that was time-consuming but also part of the craft of what makes it a book. We're going to turn it into a puppet show next, where you go into this warehouse and you're taken into the puppet show in which you're going from set to set and not just watching it. Action happens all around you and it's a very immersive theatrical experience. And for the stories we want to keep working on, rather than commissioning scripts, we've decided to start developing our long-form stories that are feature-length in this way. We'll be able to write these scenes, form them, see how they play and get a sense of how the story's doing but in a whole different way. It seems intuitive and cool and an interesting way of developing a story idea. Why not? The rules aren't set? I read how Irving Thalberg let the Marx Bros. test their stuff out on the road. So we're going to make films by way of vaudeville.
BD: How is Rise of the Guardians coming along?
WJ: Oh, man. We're less than a year out and it's really coming together. It's true to what I wanted it to be. It's beautiful and the 3-D's really nice. I wasn't that keen on 3-D at the start, but, after seeing Hugo and what we're doing here, I'm becoming more and more of a convert. And, actually, Tintin was very good in 3-D.
BD: You're reinvigorating the superhero genre with an infusion of fairy tales: Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost.
WJ: When you think about the fact that most the original comic writers were Jewish and were tapping folklore like The Golem, I'm just bringing it back around again.--
Bill Desowitz is former senior editor of AWN and editor of VFXWorld. He has a new blog, Immersed in Movies (www.billdesowitz.com), and is currently writing a book about the evolution of James Bond from Connery to Craig, scheduled for publication this year, which is the 50th anniversary of the franchise.