It’s useless to brag "I knew there was another project coming!" after Steven Spielberg and Dreamworks snatched up Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones, but, damn it, someone intimated to me a week ago that there was another project coming. What my source failed to mention was that the project was already a year in the making, which means Dreamworks landing The Lovely Bones was a fait accompli. And if I would’ve made a list of five potential properties being eyed by The Beards, I can guarantee you that a digital 3-D/performance capture rendition of Tintin would not have been one of them.
To be honest, the thought of Spielberg and Jackson jointly launching a fantasy trilogy should quicken the pulse, but Tintin wasn’t really a part of my childhood, so this does absolutely nothing for me. You, however, may disagree, especially if you’re from one o’ them foreign countries where they perform unnatural acts on the American flag ‘cuz we have all the best professional bowlers. Georges Remi’s comic strip strip, about a youthful investigative reporter who travels all over the globe with his trusty pooch Snowy, is enormously popular in Europe, and, according to the above-linked Variety article, attracts two million new fans a year. Why? Fuck if I know. People adore Remi’s artwork, and his stories play better than they sound?
I’m going to assume Spielberg knows what he’s doing on this one, and focus on the big news: he’s committed to directing one of the performance capture films along with Jackson. There’s no word yet on who goes first, and, unless Jackson defers out of respect for Spielberg, I’m not certain it’s going to be an easy decision. WETA developed the test reel that convinced Spielberg the technology was there to do Henri’s artwork justice, so it’s possible Jackson might feel his American counterpart owes him a debt of gratitude. Compounding matters is the fact that Jackson’s not the fastest filmmaker around, while Spielberg can churn out two quality features in a year without breaking a sweat. Since this is Spielberg’s baby (he’s been nurturing this project for over twenty-five years), it’s likely he’ll get first crack; where this places Lincoln and Interstellar in his filmmaking queue, I haven’t the slightest. Jackson, meanwhile, doesn’t have a firm follow-up to The Lovely Bones planned.
The other interesting aspect of this story is that it’s not for sure that Dreamworks Animation will distribute. Why not? Is there tsuris in the Dreamworks kingdom? Do Spielberg and Jackson hate the Shrek movies as much as I do? Or are they considering launching an animation studio of their own and distributing through this new entity?
Right now, I’m much more interested in this film as a business story than as a groundbreaking feat of animation, but maybe that’ll change once we get a peek at the twenty-minute demo reel. In the meantime, do your damdest to get worked up over the idea of Spielberg and Jackson working together on this particular movie.