March 13, 2004
Amorphous Blob of Nothing Makes Good
If you’d written off the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow after seeing the trailer, dust off your interest and read this preview, from the NYT Magazine. Not only does the movie sound excellent, the article’s a blast, too:
For [Kerry Conran, creator of Sky Captain], the question, as he put it, was ”Could you be ambitious and make a film of some scope without ever leaving your room?” And so 10 years ago, Kerry Conran went into a room in his apartment to make a movie. In some ways, he is just now beginning to come out of it.
At first, he was a mystery. Word of ”Sky Captain” began to spread around the Internet only after Conran finished primary shooting in London last spring — extraordinarily late for the Internet, which often seems invented specifically to track movies with giant robots in them. Even then, no one knew who Kerry Conran was. Google couldn’t touch him. He was so undocumented in the world of Hollywood that I briefly wondered, when I began pursuing him, if perhaps he was just a front for his producer and partner and mentor Jon Avnet, who is well known for producing ”Risky Business” and directing ”Fried Green Tomatoes” but who is not so well known for retro-science-fiction summertime blockbusters, and who unlike Conran seems to have been photographed at least once in his life. I don’t think Conran would mind that I doubted his existence. In fact, for a long time, that was the plan.
Conran created the entire universe of the movie using computers. I mean, I guess it’s not that rare in the age of Pixar, but the live actors involved (including Gwyneth, Jude, and Angelina) worked in front of blue screens the entire time. That seems big, somehow.
They can do anything here. When one of Paltrow’s arms was cut out from a shot, they copied the other one, flipped it and pasted it back in. Since all the lighting was being done on the computer, they could paint the frame with light and noirish shadows, erase it all and then start again.