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After a somewhat rushed, middle of the night posting about the first day of Armageddon, I though Id send in a much more thorough telling of the second day along with some pictures.
But first, back to Saturday, since I have included a picture of part of the k’lexia cast. There was a presentation about k’lexia a new sci-fi show being shot out of Christchurch. They consider themselves somewhat akin to Babylon 5. The series has a set amount of shows (4 seasons worth I believe). They have backing to make the premiere and in a few weeks the creator of the show is headed to LA. With a trailer to try and secure a spot on the sci-fi channel. For more info check out http://www.klexia.com
Sunday I returned to Armageddon and started out by ordering my v. own fellowship cloak from stansborough fibres (http://www.stansborough.co.nz). I then headed up to the bleachers for another day of talks.
At noon, Sean was back. He spent some time chatting about stuff before he took questions. He talked about his love for reading and history (hence the reason why he studied English and history in school). He spent a long time talking about his new book (there and back again: an actor’s tale of which I am a proud owner of a copy) and why and how it happened. It was really interesting to hear about how he wanted to give folks a bit of his experience, as well as give a more balanced view of the whole thing. He loved it and it was hard and rewarding and more. He realized that folk wanted to know about what it was like, so he found an author to help him (Joe laden) and set about doing a brain dump so Joe could write about his NZ adventure. I can’t do justice to his explanation of it, so you will just have to all go get the book when it is released next month. He talked about how much he loves west wing (he finds it almost Shakespearian), about 50 first dates (he and drew have long wanted to act together) and about his role on Jeremiah. When asked about upcoming stuff, he said he would like to direct an episode of dead zone and that he is developing some movies. Someone asked Sean about whether he was aware of some of the fan fiction and had he read any of it. Sean was v. supportive of fan fiction and fan art (he saves any fan art he is given). He talked about how great it was that the movie inspired so much creativity, and that Tolkien wanted other writers to help expand the mythology he was creating. He also told a funny story about being given a rather explicit drawing of Sam and Frodo. He obviously takes it all in stride. By the end of his talk I really wanted to go find a nice quiet corner to read his book because I am v. interested to learn more about him.
At one, Andy took over. As with the day before, he immediately opened the floor for questions. Again he was asked about several of his past movies, as well as King Kong. He attempted to answer the questions so that both the new listeners and folk like me, who had seen him the day before, were entertained. He talked about the fact that a good director in his view is a collaborator. He told us that peter Jackson gave him one of the original rings from filming lotr for his birthday. [*snicker*] he was asked if his current look with beard was for the filming. (“yes,” he said, “this is for lumpy.” who is the cook on the ship in King Kong) he talked a bit about Gollum and the gimp suit. He confirmed that the Gollum MTV acceptance speech was Peters idea. I was most interested in his tales of studying gorillas for being King Kong. He started by watching the gorillas at the London zoo. There are 3 females and a male. One of the females took a shine to him. This resulted in the male making threatening sounds and banging on the cage when Andy came to visit. Also, once Andy took his wife along and the female threw a water bottle at her. I wonder if she is back at the London zoo pining for him now (the gorilla not his wife). He then told us about his trip to Rwanda, where he followed around and observed a family of 23 gorillas. He said it was pretty amazing. They just live in a giant salad bowl and our so peaceful and live in such harmony. He also had the chance to observe a dominance shift as one of the younger males began to take over from the current dominant silverback. Again he left us with the Sméagol Gollum scene to everyone’s delight.
It was now two and john was back. Again questions started. He spent some time talking about his attempts to define the voice of Treebeard. He confessed that he suggested to Peter that they eliminate the ents from the story all together because he wasn’t sure they would be able to pull it off. In john’s research he talked to several Tolkien scholars and they all had different answers about what they thought Treebeard would sound like. He admitted that he would not give himself full marks for the end result, and shrugged. At the crowds pleas he did Gimli for us a few times. I asked john about the scene in raiders of the lost ark (yes, he alluded, they may make a 4th, they are working on it, but they will only do it if it will be great) where Salad is saying goodbye to Andy and gets kissed by Marion and breaks into a Gilbert and Sullivan song. I wanted to know if it was in the script. He told us a story about shooting that scene, the first he shot for the movie, and how Steven Spielberg told him right before they went to film it that Sala breaks into Gilbert and Sullivan songs when he is happy and to work it into the scene. Someone asked if Gimli wanted the ring, and john talked about how he felt that Gimli figured out at the council that the ring was evil and didn’t really think on it past that. Not that he was impervious to it, but that he knew it was his job to protect Frodo and that was what he did. He talked about safety on sets. And said a bad director thinks they are god. He also said that lotr has smarter fans and they are also v. forgiving.
After john was done I took a break and headed back up to see the lion, the witch and the wardrobe panel at four. It consisted of Richard Taylor (special effects), Howard Berger (prosthetic design and application), dean Wright (visual effects supervisor) and some suit whose name I didn’t get. [*sheepish shrug*] they talked a bit about the cast (4 relatively unknown children from the UK) and the effects. They started shooting here in NZ on 28 June 2004 and hope to wrap in December. They talked about the influence of the kiwi director (Andrew Adamson, the guy who did shrek) on choosing NZ, along with the economy, the skill, and a great location for the final battle scene. Richard and his team at weta did all the design work, as well as all weapons and armor. Howards team is taking care of creating creatures, both from people and animatronics (as well as stand-in’s for the all-digital characters, referred to as ‘stuffies’). And dean’s team does all the digital stuff. The weta guys researched all of the books in order to flesh out Narnia into a real world, inventing 23 species’ looks and cultures. And Howard and dean are turning those designs into reality. Aslan, who will be their biggest challenge, will be about 99.5% digital with a few animatronics stuff. Dean said they were thinking of trying to motion capture a real lion (like to see that!). Mr. Tumnas (James Mcavoy) is makeup on his top half and digital goat legs. He wears green-screen pants for his costume and they are doing live motion capture on the set, something that they were just starting to perfect at the end of the work with Gollum. His makeup takes 3 people 3 1/2 hours to apply. They talked a lot about how much technology has improved in such a short space of time. The weta sculptures sculpt a maquette in ‘Leonardo pose’, get it 3-d scanned, and then animators can manipulate the creature in the computer and send a pose to be cut out of polystyrene with the push of a button (which is how they are getting the statues for the witches stone garden). All in all I was blown away and am really looking forward to the movie.