Spielberg. Jackson. Two of modern cinema's greatest filmmakers have teamed up to bring the adventures of intrepid reporter Tintin to the third dimension. Almost a century has passed since Tintin made his first appearance in a comic strip. The brain child of Belgian writer Georges Remi - working under the pseudonym Herge - the young reporter and his faithful dog Snowy have experienced various reincarnations over their 82 year history with live action films, animated series and endless stories published on their adventures.
But never has Tintin been seen like this.
Utilising the motion-capture technology (mocap) developed by Peter Jackson's Weta Digital in New Zealand, Tintin and his universe will be coming at Boxing Day audiences in jaw-dropping 3D. The Adventures Of Tintin is the passion project of Oscar-winners Steven Spielberg (E.T., Jaws) and Jackson (The Lord Of The Rings trilogy) who produced the film together, with Spielberg also directing and Jackson first assistant director. The duo have spent years tirelessly working to get Tintin on the big screen again.
``Tintin is an intrepid and tenacious reporter,'' says Spielberg.
``What I always I identified with with Tintin is he doesn't take no for an answer, which is the story of my life.'' The technology used to create the animated characters is the same seen in Avatar, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and was used to make Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings. With motion sensors attached to real actors, the performers act out the story while their movements and expressions are translated into a digital model. For someone who ``can't even send emails'', Jackson says the mocap is an invaluable filmmaking technique.
``Motion capture is not a genre, it's a tool and a technique,'' he says.
``We can't use computers, either of us, but we wanted to walk into this digital world where Tintin was created and be able to pick up a camera - literally pick up a digital camera.''
The result is action scenes usually too incredible to film in real-D being brought to life in an action/adventure epic unlike any other. The scenario of getting two Hollywood heavyweights working closely with each other for over a year could have resulted in a disastrous feud. Instead, it has resulted in a blossoming bromance between Spielberg and Jackson.
``There was no ego, no competition, we were both on the same page,'' says Spielberg of working with the New Zealand filmmaker.
``We were just two Tintin fan boys trying to bring those books to life.
``He's a problem solver and likes to look at things from all angles. I get anxious on sets and have a thousand ideas at once, but Pete has a very good sense of seeing the big picture and realising the way to get there.
``We were like two code breakers working on the Enigma code together.'' Jackson too says he took a lot from the partnership.
``He brings a childish enthusiasm, which is exciting,'' he says.
``I discovered that the first time he walks on set it's like the he's stepping on a movie set for the first time ever.''
The Adventures Of Tintin opens Boxing Day. For parts two and three of my chat with Spielberg and Jackson on Tintin, stay peeled in the coming days.