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A Fan Talks To Dave McKean About MIRRORMASK!!

Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...

We get a lot of mail about this one, even though next to nothing is known about it. People heard that it was a sort of semi-sequel to LABYRINTH, and that was enough to get them hopped up. Now one of our readers has gotten McKean to clarify a bit. Check it out:

Hi, 4 days ago I met Dave McKean at the Clermont Ferrand Short Filmfest for which he designed the poster and was a member of the jury at the LABO section.

For those who don't know McKean just point out that he is a genius british comic-book-artist-designer-painter-sculptor (works ranging from Arkham Asylum to Sandman, etc) and that he is now becoming a film director.

I talked with him for about 15 minutes after a press conference he gave about his first feature film (he has shot two short films already), titled MirrorMask.

As IMDB points out, MirrorMask centers on Helena, a 15 year old girl in a family of circus entertainers, who often wishes she could run off and join real life. After a fight with her parents about her future plans, her mother falls quite ill and Helena is convinced that it is all her fault. On the eve of her mother's major surgery, she dreams that she is in a strange world with two opposing queens, bizarre creatures, and masked inhabitants. All is not well in this new world - the white queen has fallen ill and can only be restored by the MirrorMask, and it's up to Helena to find it. But as her adventures continue, she begins to wonder whether she's in a dream, or something far more sinister.

He has co-written the film with Neil Gaiman and his main references for it are "Alice in Wonderland", "Labyrinth" and the great Gilliam's "Time Bandits".

The film has now undergone 5 months of postproduction and has 4 more left ahead. Dave has formed a little animation studio with 15 artists for the film and hopes for a fall release.

Well the thing is, Dave talked about how this is a project that he planned to accomplish 5 years ago and how his plans were going well. He prepared the project so that every scene had a relatively easy as well as a really complex way to be accomplished and how his animation team where always heading for the difficult way.

He explained that his methods of writing and that of Neil differ a lot. Neil throws some characters into a scene and begins wrting the sequence from scratch, while Dave writes down every plot point , chracterization info, background history, etc... in little pieces of paper, spreads them on the floor, and tries different forms of assembling the story. He does not write a word of the script until he has the story completely closed.

He also talked about the small budget they have (around 5 million dollar) and about the mix of green screen real footage and CG footage and HE ACTUALLY SHOWED us a production still of the movie featuring THE CITY surrounded by smog and a long bridge coming out of it.

I have to say that the production values showed in the still where ABSOULTELY ASTOUNDING. It featured Dave's well known style but in a more-to-the-point concise way as he wants to show us a world that could really exist. Dave has visited lots of european cities, such as Venice in order to get real textures and buildings for the City he envisions.

Finally, Dave showed us a MoCap test for a 3D character in teh movie called SmallHairy. The funny thing about that is that it was Dave himself that was motion captured for this particular character. He even mimed some of the performance for me. I felt honoured :D

And that's everything.

You can call me the POPE'S POLE

I don’t want to know what that means, I’m sure. Thanks for the report, though. Great stuff!

"Moriarty" out.

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