Blue Sky's Talkin' With The Fishes On The Sopranos
Blue Sky Studios has brought dead fish to life for THE SOPRANOS. Blue Sky's Animation Director Mark Baldo and Lead Technical Director Cliff Bohm were given the task to create the special effects for a pivotal scene in the season finale. The scene features Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), who is wracked with guilt and indecision about his long-time friend, Pussy (Vincent Pastore), who he knows has turned FBI informant. He has a surreal conversation with one of the fish, which addresses him in Pussy's voice and makes cracks about "sleeping with the fishes." Baldo said THE SOPRANOS executive producer David Chase didn't want the fish to look alive. "It was always going to be a talking dead fish," Baldo explains. "So we added a bluish tint to the eyes, created very little movement, and made it seem as if it were talking in a trance, almost as if it were channeling the character of Pussy." The crew shot high-8 footage of the actor speaking the lines off camera so that animators, Dean Lennert and Mike Thurmeier, could closely study his speech patterns. "Vincent is a great voice actor," said Baldo. "He really gave us a lot to work with. Not only does he have a wonderfully distinct northern New Jersey accent, but he also adds a slight lisp to his character that we were able to capture with the fish's mouth movements. Those characteristics helped us to get that unity between the animation and the voice."