Quint at Comic-Con: A SCANNER DARKLY panel featuring animators and... Philip K. Dick'
Published at: July 14, 2005, 8:50 p.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with with my first report from Day 1 on the prowl at the San Diego Comic-Con. Last night you got a bunch of pictures of prototype toys, tons of KING KONG and NARNIA statues from the Weta booth and lots of cool up and coming toys.
Now we're into the meat of the Con. I'm sitting at one of the incredibly packed dining areas on the Con floor, next to a Cafe Express, where you can buy a hot dog for over $4 and a salad for $8. I'm about 10 feet away from the corner booth operated by Leith Adams, who I visit every year at the Con and buy vintage movie posters from. Right now I'm eyeballin' a SILENT NIGHT EVIL NIGHT (aka BLACK CHRISTMAS) one-sheet as well as a THOU SHALT NOT KILL... EXCEPT one-sheet.
Anyway, I've just seen my first panel which was Warner Independent's discussion and preview of Richard Linklater's adaptation of Philip K. Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY. Producer Tommy Pallotta and animators Sterling Allen, Evan Cagle, Nick Derington, Christopher Jennings and I think one that I'm totally leaving out... as well as the originator of A SCANNER DARKLY Philip K. Dick himself.
Yes, I know Dick is dead and yes, I'm not kidding. Philip K. Dick was at the panel. He spoke to the audience, fielded questions and creeped the shit out of everybody in Rm. 6CDEF.
That's Philip K. Dick on the right. In true form, there is an android with a rudimentary A.I. with the voice, face and feel of Philip K. Dick himself.
Isn't that creepy? For the first 40 minutes of the hour long panel Dick was completely still, with a technician working below the table. Sexy, eh?
Then, after we got a screening of the Comic-Con exclusive trailer (I'll get to that in a minute) and an exclusive first look at a scene (ditto) Dick spoke... Well, first he convulsed... then reclined and stared at the ceiling for a minute. Then he spoke...
But first thing's first. Let's get to the bits of info revealed at the panel and a brief description of the scene and the trailer.
The trailer was 2 minutes and 15 seconds with mostly new footage, although the big beats of the teaser trailer were in there (like the Woody "Bathroom window" line and Winona's "...without them ever even knowing" line) including more Robert Downey Jr. being crazy... the key scene being him showing Woody the "Sixty five cent" homemade silencer. He shoots it up in the air and it BANGS getting a well... that worked reaction from the people in front of him.
There was a lot more about the Scanners watching Keanu all the time as well. Hopefully we'll see this footage online soon.
But to hold you over, I have 4 character posters to share with you. I love these posters... especially Downey's poster...
They also showed a scene from SCANNER that was about Robert Downey Jr.'s character entering the house where Woody, Winona and Keanu are lounging. He brings in a bike and in super fast, hyper speech he talks about how he got a deal on it. "It's an 18 gear bike" that he got for $50. Woody points out that there are only 9 gears on the bike and Downey starts going off about how he was ripped off. He utters the phrase "Albino lizard shape-shifting bitches" which I thought was quite nice.
This bit was all about the comedy, with Woody insisting that the bike's 9 gears suddenly change to 8 gears and getting excited about going and confronting the guys that have ripped Downey Jr. off. It was really funny and the animation was extremely eye-pleasing.
The backgrounds moved with the shaky, handheld camera and were still had a little motion when still giving it all a very surreal vibe. The performances come through crystal clear. There's never a question about who you're watching. Woody is Woody, Keanu is Keanu, Winona is Winona and Downey Jr. is his old lovable crazy-ass self.
These are little bits of info revealed at the panel.
-Total budget, including animation and actor's salaries on A SCANNER DARKLY is $8 million.
-The animators are 65-70% finished animating the movie.
-There are 5 teams with 10 animators each that are attacking the workload on the film.
-One of those teams ONLY works on the Scramble suit.
-They're hoping to release the film March 2006.
-Keanu's ratty beard is extremely difficult to animate.
-"We have boobies and frontal" was said by one of the animators in regards to the rating of the movie. This was greeted by much applause.
-Terry Gilliam once had the rights to adapt A SCANNER DARKLY and Charlie Kaufman once wrote an adaptation.
-Philip K. Dick is fucking scary.
And now we're to the end. I have to race off soon and attend David Cronenberg's panel on A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, but I must leave you with Dick coming to life.
One of the animators asked Philip K. Dick "What is A SCANNER DARKLY about?"
Dick cocked his head and paused for about 15 seconds then said, "Who told you that?"
The technician then grabbed the special "talk to Philip" microphone and reasked the question. The response was, "I've never been asked that before." Then Dicked paused and tilted his head and said, "Can you speak different languages?"
The audience erupted in laughter. One of the audience members went up to the mic and asked Dick if he dreamed of electric sheep. After another reasking Dick went on a minute and a half monologue about the differences between Ridley Scott's BLADE RUNNER and his original book.
No shit. It was weird as hell... but awesome. OK. Gotta run. Be back soon.