Written by Stephanie Andolino, Freelance Writer
Hollywood Junket attended the press conference of Nickelodeon’s latest release, “The Adventures of Tintin” with the creative team behind it, including Director/Producer Steven Spielberg, Producer, Kathleen Kennedy, Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Joe Letteri, and the actor portraying Tintin, Jamie Bell along with fellow actor Nick Frost who plays Thomson.
“The Adventures of Tintin” is based on Herge’s European comic book series dated back from 1929. Both Spielberg and Producer on the film Peter Jackson put their efforts together to take this comic book to the next level – in 3D animation.
It is quite clear that the visual nature of the highly technical film is at the heart of the film making. Spielberg was quick to praise his entire team as a collaborative effort to make the film happen. “The details of what the animators did took my breath away,” Spielberg raves.
He was especially thankful for his right hand man, Jackson, although a continent away, was always close by – via a monitor watching every scene with Spielberg to make sure that they got the “right take.” Kennedy commented on the process: “It takes a long time to get everyone to agree, that looks like Tintin,” so that they could all move on to the next shot and so forth, each day.
Indeed. Letteri commented on how much “biology” and “physics” really went into the production of this film to turn the physical world into animation. Letteri, of course is a four-time Oscar winner known from his work on The Lord of the Rings.
The animators looked to Herge’s original drawings for inspiration. As Letteri says, “We tried to achieve the look through Herge’s eyes.” Eyes themselves were especially important to showcase with emotion for the entire team. As Spielberg puts it: “so you can see into the soul” of the character. Snowy the little dog and TinTin, of course, took the most time to animate.
If people are unfamiliar with the exact type of animation used, it is known as performance-captured technology. This type of effect is achieved by having real life actors perform and then turn their images into animation and add on 3D affects to boost it to the next level. Hence, the actors and animators truly were a combined effort.
Looking at Jamie Bell and Nick Frost who played Thompson, one can notice the physical similarities they have with their characters! In fact, Bell remembers, “I grew up in Europe around Tintin and that …coif,” (Tintin’s signature hair). Lots of people have an ownership of Tintin.”
Yet, for all the technical aspects of this film, Spielberg speaks to the fact that it is most important for people to forget about all the effects and get lost in the story itself. As Spielberg said “that would be my greatest achievement” in this film.
Indeed it is a story that has finally come to manifestation from years in the making. From a comic book from 1929 to Spielberg first reaching out to Herge himself back in 1983 to gain the film rights, to the past two years of intensive film making, Tintin finally hits the big screen this holiday season, Wednesday, December 21, 2011.