The The Adventures of Tintin panel began with something very special for the Comic-Con audience today in San Diego: a retrospective of Steven Spielberg‘s career, and the presentation of Comic-Con’s Inkpot lifetime achievement award to the respected filmmaker himself, which he receieved to a standing ovation.
Spielberg discussed how even before he knew about Tintin, his films had been compared to Herge’s work for years. When preparing to develop the film, he approached Weta to ask them to show him a test of Tintin’s dog Snowball, to see if CGI would be a proper medium. He then showed that presumed test, which featured producer Peter Jackson as Capt. Haddock, with a CGI Snowy behind him, performing tricks and getting drunk from Haddock’s whiskey.
Peter Jackson then came to the dais, and mentioned that the shared link for him and Spielberg was the love of Herge’s comic books. The biggest challenge for both was to get the characters to look faithful to the comic, while also being a hybrid of CGI with a live-action feel. For Spielberg, the challenge was working as a director in the digital medium, which he compared to playing a Playstation game.
Then they unveiled footage from the film, which indeed looked closer to live action than digital, and truly reflected the state of the art in CGI. Spielberg did not disappoint as scenes shown were as high action and exciting as any of his previous live-action films.
Spielberg said 3D CGI was the medium that was begging him to do something new with filmmaking, and that every artist on Tintin were the same artists that had previously worked on Avatar for James Cameron. He specifically filmed with these new tools in a traditional live-action way.
Spielberg and Jackson praised the cast, including Jaimie Bell as Tintin, Simom Pegg ad Nick Frost playing identical twins, and Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock. Spielberg said that he felt performance capture was perfect for this film, and it enabled him to do things he couldn’t do in live action, and if this film is successful, Peter Jackson will direct the sequel. Outside of George Lucas, Spielberg felt this was the best collaboration he’s ever had with a filmmaker, and compared it to working with a brother.
The moderator asked Jackson about production on The Hobbit, which he replied he was having the best time working on. He was thankful for the hiatus he’s had to take while Bilbo Baggins actor Martin Freeman films Sherlock for the BBC.
Spielberg said he always works on multiple projects simultaneously, and it gives him focus to bounce between them.
Q&A opened up with actor Andy Serkis surprisingly taking the mic. Spielberg addressed a fan’s question about any future Jaws projects, and he said he wanted to keep it to the 3 existing films, and didn’t want to give Universal ideas on filming any other sequels without him.
Spielberg was asked what film was his favorite to make, and he said “E.T”, because he grew so close to those actors, that when production ended, he wanted to stay with those kids, and it made him realize how much he wanted to be a father, and as a result, he now has seven kids.
Jackson mentioned that he plans on returning to horror in the near future. Of all the films Spielberg has produced only, the one he wanted most to direct himself was American Beauty, and his happiest moment producing has been for Zemeckis’ Back to the Future films.
Speilberg announced they have a story finished for Jurrasic Park IV, and plan to have it done in the next couple of years. He praised the advent of YouTube for democratizing the work of new filmmakers, and when looking for new filmmakers both he & Jackson look for those who have an inheirent knack for storytelling.
The final ComicCon questioneer was wearing a t-shirt that said “If possible, I would love to meet Steven Spielberg just to shake his hand and say thank you very much”, which tickled both Spielberg & Jackson so much they invited him on stage to do exactly that, while Jackson took the pics to document it. He then asked Spielberg if he still uses physical film, to which he replied he has done so on every movie except Tintin, which by nature was purely digital. The panl ended again to a standing ovation for both Jackson & Spielberg.