About a year ago I landed an extended video interview with Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. During our wide ranging conversation we talked about everything from how performance capture technology has reached a new level in terms of integrating CG characters into live-action filming, to how they didn’t use miniatures on The Hobbit, and so much more. With the second installment in the trilogy (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) now in theaters, a few days ago I landed a new video interview with Letteri here in Los Angeles. He talked about the technical advancements they made to create Smaug, how they decided to visualize Smaug’s speech, the time required to render visual effects like the billion coins in Smaug’s vault, just how many people worked on the film, the Desolation of Smaug extended edition, and so much more.
In addition, with Weta working on other projects, we talked about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (Weta did the incredible opening on Krypton), whether Weta will be doing some of the effects on Batman vs. Superman, the Tintin sequel, Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, what it will take for motion capture to be recognized as a legitimate art form, and more. Hit the jump to watch.
With director Asger Leth’s (Ghosts of Cité Soleil) Man on a Ledge opening this weekend, I recently got to speak with most of the cast about making the movie. The film centers on an ex-cop (Sam Worthington) convicted of a crime he didn’t commit who stands on the ledge of a Manhattan building, threatening to kill himself. However, what appears to be a suicide attempt is something else altogether. The film also stars Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Banks, Ed Burns, Titus Welliver, Genesis Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick, and Ed Harris.
During my interview with Bell and Rodriguez they talked about how they got involved in the project, the audition process, and karaoke. In addition, Bell talked about the Tintin sequel and Rodriguez talked about Casa de mi Padre. Hit the jump to watch.
Opening on Christmas Day is director Steven Spielberg‘s fantastic new movie, War Horse. Based on the Award winning play (which is based on Michael Morpurgo’s book) and set during World War I, War Horse tells the story of “the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert (Jeremy Irvine), who tames and trains him.” And don’t just take my word for it, early screenings have been very positive and the drama is heading into Oscar season with very positive buzz, especially after the National Board of review named War Horse one of the best 10 films of the year. The film also stars Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Peter Mullan, Niels Arestrup, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Toby Kebbell. You can watch the trailer here and here’s seven clips.
To help promote the film, DreamWorks recently held a press junket in New York City and I was able to land an exclusive interview with producer Kathleen Kennedy. As the longtime producing partner of Spielberg (she produced A.I., Munich, E.T., and Jurassic Park just to name a few), she talked about the way they make movies, how they pick projects, who gets to see the movies first, and the making of War Horse. In addition, Kennedy gave me updates on Jurassic Park 4, a 3D re-release of the original Jurassic Park, the status of the Tintin sequel, Lincoln, Robopocalypse, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch.