Holy Smoke!!! Quint visits with Steven Spielberg on the INDIANA JONES 4 set!!! Plus news on TINTIN & TRANSFORMERS 2!!!
Published at: Sept. 14, 2010, 1:18 p.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Okay, here’s the deal. I didn’t know I was going to LA until 5pm yesterday. I heard a rumor that AICN might have an invite to something regarding INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL the day before, but it was Monday that I got the confirmation and I was on a plane less than 12 hours later. You can’t pass that up, right?
I show up on the Universal backlot and meet up with some colleagues from JoBlo, Chud, IGN, ComingSoon, LatinoReview, IESB and Slashfilm.
We met at Amblin and met a van that took us to the INDIANA JONES set. Now, don’t get your hopes up. The closest we got was the catering. They treated us to some of the most elaborate and amazing catering I’ve ever seen. We’re talking flames, vegetables of all sorts, meats of all sorts, pastas with different sauces, multiple chefs… it was a huge production.
Around us were a dozen commies grabbing some grub, most of them actually speaking Russian… Mind you when I say “commie” I mean Red soldiers, dressed for the film.
I got to say hi to Laurent Bouzereau, who runs all of Spielberg’s DVD stuff. I got to chat him up a bit on the WAR OF THE WORLDS set visit and he struck me as being just as cool of a guy now as he did then. Just laid back, loving what he’s doing. We talked a little about the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS Blu-Ray release and he said it’s amazing, the HD transfer absolutely gorgeous.
Anyway, we all eat our awesome catering and suddenly we’re told it’s time to go back. It seemed like a rush and we soon found out why.
“Hey, isn’t that John Hurt?”
Yep. He had long hair and possibly a long Van Dyke, but it might have been a full beard. I didn’t get much more than a glimpse at him. He was in full costume. Dirty, earth tones. Very in keeping with the INDIANA JONES palate. His hair looked greasy and unkempt. I don’t think he’s been living in the lap of luxury.
“Hey, isn’t that Shia?”
And Shia LaBeouf runs past. Clean shaven, hair liberally oiled, but he’s been getting dirty, too.
So, it was clear why we were rushed out of the tent. The A-list was coming to eat…
And yes, that included Dr. Henry Jones Jr.
I won’t say that the van full of internet geeks became screaming girls, but the geek-o-meter was turned up to 11 when we all turned back and saw Harrison Ford walking the catering line and ending up at the ham station. He was in full costume. Fedora, loosely buttoned tan shirt, brown pants, brown shoes, whip… the whole nine yards.
Okay, so we were like a van full of 12 year olds that just saw Justin Timberlake walk by. I admit it.
It couldn’t have been planned better. It’s like a ride. We got just enough of a glimpse to get us excited and then the van pulled away.
We were buzzing with each other about seeing Indiana Jones in the flesh when we were escorted into the Amblin screening room. We weren’t in there long when we were told that “he is less than 2 minutes away.”
That “he” was Steven Spielberg who popped into the room from a door close to the front and greeted us all. He went down the row and shook everybody’s hand and asked what outlet they were with, occasionally throwing in “I know you!” or “I’ve read that site!” as he shook hands.
Nobody was prepared. We were told in advance that this was something we weren’t supposed to write about, so nobody brought a tape recorder or prepared questions. We were told afterwards we could write about our day, so you’ll have to excuse any hazy recollections or non-direct quotes.
Spielberg pulled up a chair and sat, facing us, answering questions as he personally autographed INDIANA JONES 4 posters for each of us.
None of knew this was a Q&A so when he went quiet there’s a long pause, so I blurted out something like “I can’t wait to see Marion back.”
Spielberg laughed and said she’s great and then asked if we knew about her clothing line. She has been out of acting for a while because she was concentrating on her own line. She hand knits for it, even.
My other question to him was regarding Drew Struzan returning to make up the INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL poster. “Is Drew returning for the poster?” Without missing a beat Spielberg said without a doubt. He said he can’t make an INDIANA JONES movie without John Williams’ score, he can’t make one without Michael Kahn editing and it wouldn’t be an INDIANA JONES movie if Drew Struzan didn’t do the poster art.
Other topics brought up included his working relationship with George Lucas and if Spielberg was pressured to shoot INDY 4 digitally. Spielberg said that the way he works with George is he lets George talk for an hour and then says, “No.”
He said that with a laugh. He clearly had a lot of love for Lucas, calling him his brother and partner.
His argument against digital is the picture doesn’t seem alive. He said you could sit in the front row of a digital film and see the digital artifacts and you can sit in the front row of a movie shot on film and see the chemicals in the film. The image on the screen could be a static shot of a man that never blinks, but when it’s film and it’s been through the chemical process the image is alive. You can see the chemical process after effects and even if nothing else is moving, the film has a life.
So he said he’s still the only filmmaker that cuts on a Movieola, cuts on film, and he’ll be the last person in the world to make a live action movie shot digitally.
That said, he talked about his future work on TINTIN.
That’s all Performance Capture, but it’s an animated film. He stressed that his live-action stuff will always be film.
On TINTIN he confirmed that he is directing one, Peter Jackson is directing the other and if they don’t get the person they want to film the 3rd then they’re just going to co-direct the third one.
Apparently the process is as collaborative as can be. He’ll be there when Peter shoots his, Peter will be there when Spielberg shoots his, etc. Weta will be doing all the performance capture and digital work.
Back to INDIANA JONES…
Harrison Ford is doing most of his own stunts again. He apparently just shot a fight scene and Spielberg said he could pull film from LAST CRUSADE and compare it to what was just shot and not tell the difference in how Harrison moves as Indiana Jones.
On the effects: 70% will be practical and 30% digital.
On the style: It hasn’t been shot and it won’t be edited like a modern action film. “I’m not going to change my style.” He said he likes to give audiences a master shot and let them become the editors and decide which of the 8 characters on the screen they’re going to look at. He jabbed at MTV type editing and said this will feel completely within the established INDIANA JONES world.
Lucas visited the set 8 times during production and will have a pass at editing.
Spielberg said that was a tradition (I’m pretty sure it’s just on their collaborations). He’ll get his cut, one that he’s ready to stand by, and then he’ll ship Michael Kahn and the cut up to the Ranch and give Lucas a go. He said it usually takes him a week and a half and Lucas will send a cut back that’s usually tighter and suggest ideas on different juxtapositions. Spielberg watches the cut and considers the ideas, but if he doesn’t agree with them, he goes back to his cut.
Spielberg has final cut on INDY 4.
TRANSFORMERS 2 – they’re trying to get it going pre-strike, but if that doesn’t happen then it’ll be held until after negotiations are settled and go then.
That’s about all I can remember. It was such a crazy whirlwind. My head’s still spinning. But I’m not done geeking out yet. I’m taking advantage of being in LA and to stay on my Harrison Ford high, I’m going to hit a late screening of the new BLADE RUNNER cut. Can’t wait!