By Karen Posada
ShowBizCafe.com had the amazing opportunity to listen to Steven Spielberg as he talked about his new 3D movie ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ during the press conference. This is the story of a journalist invented by Hergé, a Belgian comic writer that created endless adventures of the boy reporter from 1929-1983. This was a story in the making for 20 years, Spielberg told us how that came about and what we should expect from it.
ShowBizCafe.com (SBC): Mr. Spielberg, could you tell us how this project was developed?
Steven Spielberg (SS): If Kathy (Kathleen Kennedy-Producer) hadn’t been with me for 20 years trying to get this movie off the ground back in 1983. When we went to Belgium 2 weeks after Hergé’s death and met the widow Fanny, who we got the rights from and welcomed us, as Hergé would have. She was very tenacious not to let me forget Tintin all these years; she kept the fire lit under me. I really wanted to honor Hergé, the only way to tell the story is to honor the origins of Tintin. To do the whole picture in the medium of digital animation and pursuit of that what we call performance capture techniques. There’s more collaboration in making movies than anything else, it’s a collaborative art form that requires the very best of everyone involved so that [you have a stable base]. Some of that is luck and some of that is intelligent casting. Bringing the right people into the experience with me. I really think I need to acknowledge the collaborative art that this is because if I didn’t I would lead you to believe that I do everything and I would not be able to have ‘War Horse’ and ‘Tintin and ‘Lincoln’ which I’m currently shooting even in my life if I didn’t have the greatest support team anybody has ever had. The other side my invisible partner who’s not here but is always here is Peter Jackson. Peter has the same sense of humor I do, we laugh at the same things and we simply have fun and without Peter I wouldn’t have had any fun at all. [There’s just something about that] partnership that takes the pressure off of me. When we casted the movie the biggest contribution I think, Peter Jackson did to this movie was to cast Jaime Bell as Tintin, they had worked together on ‘King Kong’ and Peter came to me with this idea which I was inspired; but I was pissed off it hadn’t been my idea it was my producer’s idea. I think Jaime invested in Tintin with a great degree of himself and a little bit of me because I feel part of me is Tintin and a complete understanding of what Hergé wanted to do with Tintin all those years. You can see it in all the Hergé illustrations. Jaime understood all the poses, he studied Tintin’s posses and he just became him on the first day of motion capture, it was amazing.
SBC: Can you tell us a little bit about Tintin for those that are not familiar with him and your inspiration in him?
SS: Tintin is a reporter, he’s a journalist; he goes around the world, he looks for a good story to report and then he gets involved in the story and the story then becomes about him and I’m the same way. Tintin never dropped the ball, he had laser micro vision, like Sherlock Holmes he had the gift of deductive reasoning, he could figure things out by taking his problem solving abilities in order of the problems. In a sense I’ve always admired Tintin’s sense of preoccupation with the [world], he always has his eye on the price and just like movies we always have obstacles in a way just like ‘Jaws’ I had mechanical and weather problems against me and Tintin is trying to find the secret to Unicorn and he has a nature called Captain Haddock against him. They are best friends; this is a buddy movie in a way…it’s really an odd couple story but Tintin never leaves the path to discover his secrets and that’s what makes it funny and breath taking. The thing I was excited about at least hitting on with this story is always knowing who your friends are and remain loyal to your friends despite what you hear, despite the mistakes that are made in friendships and the misunderstandings [that] commonly occur; that you have to be able to forgive and you have to be able to move on. You have to be able to remember the values of friendship and though this really is a story about trust and friendship and fidelity to each other, that’s what Tintin and Haddock learn to achieve with each other and that’s what Snowy (Tintin’s loyal dog) knows that they have between each other, because Snowy knows how this story is going to end before we do.
SBC: There’s talk of a sequel, can you tell us a little bit about that?
SS: In the sequel the twin investigators, Thompson (Simon Pegg) and Thomson (Nick Frost) are going to have a bigger role. Peter Jackson is going to direct it after he does ‘The Hobbit’ and I’ll produce it with him as he produced this with me. It is being written right now, we have stories and we have the book we are adapting from Hergé and we can’t wait to get started.
SBC: Can you talk about what inspired your passions to collect Norman Rockwell and have those images go back to your films especially I see a lot of it in this film.
SS: Well, Norman Rockwell has been one of my favorite artists, illustrators over the years. And I was raised with Rockwell because when I was a kid we used to get the Saturday evening post at our household by subscription so of course I had nothing better to do expect look at the pictures and realize the old cliché that one picture is worth a thousand words, which is really true with Rockwell. His images spoke volumes about kind of like America, and family and community and religion faith and I was a collector so when I started collecting art first art I collected was Rockwell and we had a very successful exhibit at the Smithsonian. George lucas took his rockwells convined with mine and we had this amazing kind of even there and you probably are seeing images that remind you of Rockwell in tin tin only because of one thing. I think is because of the color pallet and because it’s bright. Is a bright film and rockawell always painted very vivid painting and also because I allowed the camera sometimes just in a simple frame to say a lot of what was going on inside the sotry and I think that’s what you are referring to.
SBC: You are one of the most influential film makers of the last 40 yrs or so. What sort of pressure does that put on you or what sort of pressure do you take on to step up your game with each film knowing that people want more fom you?
SS: The pressure is the actual production of movie making, that’s where the pressure is. The whatever happens afterwards is none of my business and is never been my business. It just happens. It goes out there into the ether into peoples lives. Whether it affect them or not, whatever effect any of my films have on audiences I just kind of stop at the door. I make them and I don’t go outside of the door.
SBC: What is the key ingredient to creating characters that not only can they entertain your viewers but also teach them life lessons throughout their journeys?
SS: It’s actually a combination of things. There’s no one magic answer to your question that would satisfy you or make any sense to me because we are an extraordinary art form this business. It is a collaborative art form more than any other business I guess more than any other art form. There’s more collaboration in making movies than anything else. Of course, also television and theater but movies principally require the best of every body all at the same time, the best they can be not just 5 being the best they’ve ever been and 10 not being the best. Is like everybody is doing their greatest work or the whole house of cards falls apart & some of that is luck and some of that is intelligent casting. Bringing the right people into the experience with me. And sometimes you can get all the right people and it still doesn’t work. So I really think I need to acknowledge the collaborative art that this is cuz if I didn’t I would lead you to believe that I do everything and I would not be able to have ‘War Horse’ and ‘Tintin’ and ‘lincoln ‘which I’m currently shooting even in my life if I didn’t have the gretest support team anybody has ever had. This is just a fraction of the creative team sitting up here talking to u but hey all represent the different branches of creativity.