FX Movie News: 11-3-06

Today’s Headline’s [Don’t miss yesterday’s headlines which were also posted this morning]: Sci-fi Epic “Outlander” Begins Shooting; Spiderman 3 Trailer Comes To MTV; Wienstiens Like Weta Workshop’s Killer Sheep; ‘Pirates’ Interceptor Drops Anchor In Bay Area; No More “Daredevil” For Affleck; Microsoft Embraces Linux; 51 More Minutes Of King Kong Coming November 14th; I Am Legend Sci-fi Epic “post-apocalypized” New York Locations; Lucasfilm Helps Restore The Palace Of Fine Arts; Animation Mavericks Head To Weta Digital; Meet Sony Animation’s Tony Stacchi’s

Sci-fi Epic “Outlander” Begins Shooting

(The Weinstein Company) Outlander began principal photography on October 16th 2006. The sci-fi action/adventure film stars Jim Caviezel (The Passion of The Christ, The Count of Monte Crisco), Sophia Myles (Underworld: Evolution, Tristan + Isolde), Jack Huston (Factory Girl), Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and John Hurt (V For Vendetta, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone).

The film is helmed by Howard McCain from a screenplay he wrote with Dirk Blackman, and produced by Ascendant Pictures/VIP Medienfronds 4 in association with Rising Star.

Producers are Chris Roberts and Barrie Osbourne. The Weinstein Company will handle distribution in the United States and Wild Bunch is handling international sales.

Outlander begins when a space craft crashes into the majestic fjords of ancient Norway and into the time of the Vikings. From the wreckage emerge two bitter enemies: a soldier from another world – Kainan – and a bloodthirsty creature known as the Moorwen. Man and monster both seeking revenge for violence committed against them.

The Moorwen has been designed by famed monster/creature creator Patrick Tatopoulos (Silent Hill, I, Robot, Godzilla, Independence Day). In addition, the film’s conceptual art and design was done by the team of conceptual artists (Iain McCaig and Ninth Ray) behind the “Star Wars” trilogy.

Spiderman 3 Trailer Comes To MTV

(ComingSoon,net) Sony Pictures will debut the new Spider-Man 3 trailer on MTV next Thursday, November 9, during MTV’s “Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Duel” at 10p.m. ET. The trailer will then play in theaters with the studio’s Casino Royale starting November 17.

Spider-Man 3 hits theaters on May 4, 2007.

Wienstiens Like Weta Workshop’s Killer Sheep

(scifi.com) IFC and the Weinstein Co. have teamed to pick up Black Sheep, a horror comedy about good sheep gone bad, for North American distribution, Variety reported.

IFC will handle theatrical release on its First Take label; TWC will release on DVD through its Genius Products homevid arm.

Black Sheep follows two brothers on a New Zealand farm, one of whom has created genetically modified sheep who begin to run amok.

The New-Zealand-shot Sheep was produced by Live Stock Films and Philippa Campbell; the New Zealand Film Commission financed and sold it. Jonathan King helmed from his own script.

For the project Weta Workshop is providing animatronic puppets, special make up effects and other trickery to bring killer sheep to life in gory detail. Joining this job are Dave and Louise Elsey. Dave was recently nominated for a Special make-up Effects Oscar for his work on Star Wars, Episode III and their work on Farscape and Star Wars is recognized throughout the industry.

‘Pirates’ Interceptor Drops Anchor In Bay Area

(CONTRA COSTA TIMES) The tall ship Lady Washington weighed anchor in the Antioch Marina on Wednesday, offering visitors a chance to sail back in history.

The ship, which heads out to sea for its next port of call Tuesday, was recently featured in the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” as the ship Interceptor.

A large crowd turned out to welcome the ship and its crew, who allowed the curious on board for a look around.

“My grandkids wanted to come down and see it,” said Karen Valente, camera in hand. “I recently sent the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ DVD to my nephew in Germany, so now I’m going to take a picture of the actual ship and send it to him.”

Stepping off the ship after having a look around, Antioch resident Karen Hodges described the Lady Washington as “very impressive.”

“It’s amazing how small the quarters are downstairs,” she said. “It’s amazing that people could live together like that.”

The ship — a 106-foot long replica of an 18th-century vessel — boasts an 11-member crew, said Adrian McCullough, the Lady Washington’s bosun.

“I’m in charge of sail maintenance, carpentry and rigging,” said the 31-year-old McCollough, adding he’s been sailing on tall ships since he was 16. “I’m from British Columbia. … I went to school to learn to build boats. This is a way I can keep active during the winter.”

McCollough said he hopes visitors to the Lady Washington come away with a greater appreciation for America’s maritime heritage.

“It was a very tough life; a hard existence,” he said. “Back then, you were either a poor farmer or a sailor. This is a chance to experience something from the past.”

No More “Daredevil” For Affleck

(darkhorizons.com) Talking with the press at the London premiere of “Hollywoodland”, actor Ben Affleck confirmed that he’s not keen on the idea of a “Daredevil” sequel.

“By playing a superhero in Daredevil, I have inoculated myself from ever playing another superhero” Affleck told Slash Film.

He added “Wearing a costume was a source of humiliation for me and something I wouldn’t want to do again soon”. Hmm, one wonders if we should be sad or happy.

Microsoft Embraces Linux

(zdnet.com) In a San Francisco press conference on Nov. 2, Ballmer announces Microsoft and Novell will cooperate on getting Suse Linux to work with Windows.

Video from Cnet: http://zdnet.com.com/1606-2_2-6132093.html

51 More Minutes Of King Kong Coming November 14th

(ugo.com) The King Kong Deluxe Extended Edition is coming to DVD on November 14th!Director Peter Jackson has added more than 13 minutes of never-before-seen footage, including the heart-stopping excitement of a charging Ceratops, the adrenaline rush of a Skull Island underwater creature’s attack and so much more. Plus, this Deluxe Extended Edition is loaded with hours of brand-new special features, including a riveting commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes, an outtake and gag reel, and over 38 minutes of deleted scenes.

Peter Jackson – and UGO, at that – will not rest until the world realizes that King Kong is a great movie. It’s as great as Lord of the Rings. Yeah, you heard us. You watched five-hour versions of Hobbit yarns. Why not one about a GIANT APE?

I Am Legend Sci-fi Epic “post-apocalypized” New York Locations

(chud.com) The new Will Smith movie, I Am Legend, has been filming all over New York City the last few weeks, and I have run across the production a number of times. Today they happened to be shooting one block from my office, so I scampered over to try to get a better look at what was going on.

The production has shut down four blocks north and one block west on West Broadway, right above Ground Zero. They�re only there for the day, and they�re shooting a driving scene � a silver station wagon with black cloth over the windows. I�m assuming there are vampires inside.

What was interesting was the way the production had �post-apocalypized� the streets. Broken glass was scattered about, as were weeds and patches of grass. In true Hollywood magic fashion, when you were far away the vegetation looked like it was growing from the street and sidewalk, but when you got close you realized it was just sitting there. The station wagon was on the back of a flatbed truck, which was driving up and down West Broadway, so I imagine that the vegetation and other signs of decay � including construction boarding over windows covered in posters about biohazards (and a weird one that seemed to just say �Am I Violent?�) � will be background noise.

The trailers were parked just off West Broadway on Park Place, but I didn�t recognize the character names on the doors, and the names weren�t listed on IMDB. One of the trailers was for a female doctor character � perhaps someone more in touch with the source material will know who that is. I didn�t see a Will Smith trailer, but there was a truck with a gym in the back of it, where I assume the star keeps buff between takes.

The movie has a couple more weeks of location shooting and then moves to two different armories for interiors � one in the Bronx and one almost walking distance from my house in Brooklyn. I�m working on getting an official set visit, so we�ll see how that all shakes out.

Lucasfilm Helps Restore The Palace Of Fine Arts

(sfgate.com) Laney and Pasha Thornton hosted a party for the Palace of Fine Arts restoration crowd last Monday, and co-chair Willie Brown announced major gifts, including a nice healthy whopper from the Lucasfilm Foundation, which lives next door to the Palace. The whole restoration campaign budget is $21 million, $17 million of which has already been raised. Co-chair Donna Ewald Huggins says naming rights to the Lagoon, just east of the Palace, are available for $3 million, and the island in the middle of the Lagoon can be named for $1 million.

Animation Mavericks Head To Weta Digital

(animationmagazine.net) Industry leaders from DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Blue Sky Studios and other animation and visual effects houses are heading to New Zealand to meet up with Wellington�s own Weta Digital for the inaugural AnimFXNZ. Taking place Nov. 4-5 in Wellington, the symposium will offer two days of lectures, screenings and workshops, as well as a series of business meetings in both Wellington and Auckland. Keynote addresses will be delivered by Warner Bros. Animation president Sander Schwartz, Over the Hedge director Tim Johnson and a man widely regarded as the �godfather� of New Zealand animation, Euan Frizzell.

Sponsored by Positively Wellington Business and IBM, AnimFXNZ is a first of its kind event for New Zealand, and is designed in part to recognize the country�s innovation and growing influence in the industry. �These Hollywood-based companies are among the best in the world, and their presence here shows the high regard they have for our creativity, story-telling and technological abilities,� says Positively Wellington Business CEO Philip Lewin.

�The global success of our film industry is driven by the talent of the people that work in it,� adds IBM New Zealand�s managing director Katrina Troughton. �Increasingly, this includes those that develop and run the IT systems that bring film, television and games to life. Their innovation has put Kiwi film makers on the map and is providing an engine for growth in our economy.�

AnimFXNZ is supported by the Los Angeles-based Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry�s only organization representing the full breadth of vfx practitioners in all areas of entertainment. Also lending a hand to the event are Academy Award-winning vfx supervisors Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop and Joe Letteri of Weta Digital. A full program list and registration details are now available at http://www.animfxnz.com.

Meet Sony Animation’s Tony Stacchi’s

(2.townonline.com) Tony Stacchi is already working on his next project. It’s an animated film called “Hotel Transylvania,” about a place where the “classic monsters” are hiding out from the rest of us. “We used to watch them on Channel 38’s ‘Creature Double Feature,’ he laughed. “When you’re a kid, you don’t understand why you’re supposed to be horrified. As a kid you feel bad for the monsters.”

After a stint in Japan Stacchi went to work as an animator for Colossal Pictures in San Francisco, and was involved in hand-drawn special effects for films like “Ghost” and “Back to the Future.” “We started to take a much greater interest in computers,” he said. After working in story development and scriptwriting with an outfit called Industrial Light and Magic for several years, he got a call from a former associate, now at Sony. “She said they’re looking for a co-director. The outline was really funny and really fun.”

Stacchi moved to Los Angeles and began work on what was to become Sony’s “Open Season.” One aspect he was involved with was recruiting and hiring name talent for the voices. “We had about 40 different voices,” he explained. “Our editors would take clips from the actors’ movies and put them together like a conversation. We would just listen to them with the characters up on the screen.”

Stacchi offered some insight on the state-of-the-art production. “When you work with a big effects studio, they can do an amazing number of things… Take fur, for example. When you have a character like the grizzly bear, he can have beautiful fur, or kind of matted and dirty, or wet, or covered with food and candy. They had to do that for almost 20 different characters…With new technology, they never balked.”

The directors worked with as many as 60 animators, meeting with them at least daily and reviewing panel by panel. That’s one reason why “in the time we’re working on one of these animated features, they may make two or three complete films.” One particular challenge was “to keep the feeling of spontaneity, always trying to remember that the joke that made you laugh two years ago is still funny.”
Stacchi and his wife Gail and their six-month-old son Sabitino (“he’s named after my grandfather”) live near the Sony compound in Culver City. His parents Sam and Loretta still live in his childhood house on Russett Road. “It was a great place to grow up,” he reflected, “in proximity to a great city.”