Tag Archives: steven spielberg

Spielberg’s Tintin film targets new audiences

Steven Spielberg’s computer animated 3D adaptation of Belgian comic book hero Tintin premiered in Brussels on Saturday, aiming to capture a new global audience for the adventures of the boy reporter with the trademark quiff.

The Adventures of Tintin, first penned in 1929 by Brussels-born author Georges Remi, better known as Herge, are already hugely popular in most of Europe and Spielberg said he hoped his film would find fresh fans. “American audiences will look at this as an original movie,” Spielberg told reporters in Brussels. “Hopefully, if it is successful in America, perhaps for the first time in 80 years the books will start being published in America.”

Spielberg, who sported crossed Belgian and American flags on his lapel during the pre-screening press conference, after which he was made a commander of the order of the Belgian crown. In The Adventures of Tintin – The Secret of the Unicorn, Spielberg, who directed blockbusters including Indiana Jones, E.T. and Jaws, aims to bridge the gap between Herge’s comics and the big screen by employing a technique similar to that deployed in James Cameron’s record-breaking Avatar.

Actors including Jamie Bell, who portrays Tintin, had to adapt to acting in a studio wearing a special suit which registered his movements. The data was then transformed into a computer generated, three dimensional, image of his character. “It actually becomes like a rehearsal stage, like you are rehearsing for a play you will never put on stage,” Bell said. Spielberg added that he was in touch with Herge, shortly before the author died in 1983, about adapting Tintin.

“He was a big fan of Raiders of the Lost Ark and actually on the telephone said he wanted me to adapt his books into movies so it was one of the most exciting phone calls in my life,” Spielberg said. For Belgium’s comic book store owners, renewed interest in Tintin is good news.

“Without doubt we have noticed an uptick in sales. We have also seen this with the recent Smurfs film but even more so with Tintin,” said Beo Hanssen of the Beo comic book store in Antwerp.

Positive Reviews: Early reviews for the film, which combines three of Tintin’s comic book adventures, were broadly positive, with the Belgian press particularly glowing about Spielberg’s adaptation. “Action and humour dominate in a very pleasant spectacle,” Belgian French-language magazine Le Vif wrote in a review. “Herge would have loved this Tintin, full of character,” French daily Le Soir wrote on Saturday. Some British reviews were less enthusiastic, arguing that the computer graphics made the characters seem dull. “How curious that Herge achieved more expression with his use of ink-spot eyes and humble line drawings than a bank of computers and an army of animators were able to achieve,” British daily The Guardian wrote.

Tintin has also made negative headlines as a lawsuit alleging racism in Herge’s second book Tintin in the Congo commenced in Belgium in late September. The case, brought by Congolese-born campaigner Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, says Herge’s depiction of native Africans is racist and propagates a colonialist view of the continent.

“What poses a problem today is not (author) Herge, it’s the commercialisation of a cartoon book which manifestly diffuses ideas based on racial superiority,” a lawyer for Mondondo told a Brussels court in September. The book was published in 1931 and Bienvenu is taking action against a modern version of the original. Racist language was removed in subsequent editions. “I don’t know anything about the court case, I haven’t followed it. It was just brought up before coming here, in case a question was asked,” Spielberg said. “There is no real reason for me to contribute to whatever the dialogue has been.”

Source: IBN

Spielberg, Jackson digging for ‘Tintin’

Tintin may have a new benefactor.

Filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are in the process of trying to line up a co-financing and co-distribution partner for their in-the-works trilogy of “Tintin” films, set up at Paramount Pictures. The director-producers are trying to entice Sony Pictures, which is now in discussions with Paramount, to help finance the films and take on international distribution.

Universal Pictures, which just entered into a seven-year distribution deal with the newly separated DreamWorks, of which Spielberg is a principal, last month declined to finance half of the first picture at a $130 million price tag.

At that time, Paramount quickly offered to finance the entire project, but the terms of the offer provoked the filmmakers to look for other options. Both Spielberg and Jackson, as two of the most successful and powerful director-producers in Hollywood, are accustomed to large back-end arrangements.

Should a deal close, Sony will not have a role in the creative development of the films, the first of which Spielberg is already in the process of directing. Jackson plans to direct the second.

Under the purported terms of the deal being negotiated, first reported by the New York Times, Paramount would retain distribution of the films in North America and several other English-seaking territories. This would seem to put the Melrose studio at a disadvantage given Tintin’s enduring appeal outside of the States, where he is much less well known.

Spielberg has long been trying to make films about the famously intrepid, globetrotting young reporter. The director is using motion-capture technology to bring the character, created by Belgian artist Herge, to life. It is scheduled for release in 2010.

The Spielberg camp had no comment on the potential deal.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

DreamWorks exit could hurt Paramount

Steven Spielberg aims to raise more than $1 billion in third-party financing to reinvent DreamWorks as a separate company that once again owns the movies it makes.

As for distribution, Spielberg wants to bolt his roost at Paramount for Universal, which wants to land Spielberg and DreamWorks after losing out to Paramount in that quest a couple years ago. But on recommendation from his advisers, Spielberg has allowed a bidding war to begin among studios for the rights to distribute future DreamWorks movies.

The chief suitors other than Paramount: Universal, Disney and Fox.

Warner Bros. has sat out the competition so far despite previous expectations that the studio would seek a relationship with DreamWorks if Spielberg and company were to leave Paramount. Industry betting runs heavily against Spielberg’s staying put at Paramount, with the related question of where he and the DreamWorks film label land considered a simple matter of who will offer sufficiently attractive terms to attract Spielberg, chief Stacey Snider and their brand.

“Stacey is the next generation, and Steven is very committed to her,” said one participant in DreamWorks strategy meetings.

Spielberg’s contract runs until 2010, but he can terminate it early at year’s end. Snider and DreamWorks chairman David Geffen have similar escape clauses in their deals with Par, while about 100 other DreamWorks employees theoretically would be unaffected by departures among the top execs.

Yet Spielberg will wield considerable leverage in any exit negotiations with Par and could insist on taking additional execs with him as he reconstructs DreamWorks elsewhere. Although Par owns “Transformers” and other films produced by DreamWorks while at the studio, Spielberg’s rights regarding involvement on sequels could trigger negotiations over which films he brings with him and which would remain under Par’s control.

A window in Spielberg’s personal contract with Par opened May 1, allowing him to discuss potential offers for his services from rival studios. Since then, Spielberg or such advisers as Geffen and attorney Skip Brittenham have held several meetings with prospective studio suitors and financiers.

Still, there is the argument — offered a few months back by Par execs amid early handicapping of Spielberg’s future — that early ill-will between DreamWorks brass and their Par overlords has been smoothed over. Par boosted DreamWorks’ production funding and even credit on DreamWorks/Par releases during the course of the former’s residency on the lot.

But barring a complete revision of his current arrangement at Par, only bolting the studio would allow Spielberg again to stake actual ownership claim to his future films. He participated in just that through the original DreamWorks SKG, but Spielberg at Par essentially is a producer and director of films owned by others, backend deals on individual films notwithstanding.

Even the DreamWorks name is controlled neither by Spielberg nor Par but by Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation. If Spielberg were to exit Paramount, DWA could withdraw rights to the name from Par and presumably grant them to Spielberg.

DWA’s distribution contract with Par runs through 2012.

Meanwhile, it appears that Spielberg’s hunt for financing could lead to DreamWorks securing a bank facility to fund production as well as private-equity investment.

Yet this time around, it’s likely that the latter would be much more limited than the one-time majority stake in DreamWorks SKG by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. DWA went public in 2004 and DreamWorks $1.6 billion sale to Par a year later both were prompted by Allen’s desire to cash out his interest in DeamWorks.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Spielberg will shoot long-awaited Abraham Lincoln project after Tintin

Steven Spielberg’s long-gestating project about US president Abraham Lincoln will be the director’s next project after the first live-action Tintin film which goes into production this September.

Spielberg says he will begin shooting of the Lincoln biopic at the beginning of 2009 “so that it can also open in the same year as Lincoln’s 200th anniversary which comes round then.”

Originally, Spielberg had been planning Chicago Seven as his next project about the famous 1960s trial of the protestors at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.

However, this project had to be postponed since the screenplay was not yet ready, leading to the Lincoln project being brought forward in its place.

In an interview with the German weekly magazine FOCUS ahead of the world premiere of the new Indiana Jones film in Cannes, Spielberg also said production on Tintin would not be threatened by a possible actors’ strike.

“That doesn’t affect us as it is an animation film with motion capture technology,” he said.

Source: Screen Daily