Serkis directing new take Animal Farm
Andy Serkis is really making a meal out of this motion capture shenanigans. Not only is he cornering every major motion capture role there is but he's also now started making them through his company called The Imaginarium, a studio specialising in performance capture.
The latest project he's lined up sounds rather ambitious, not just because it's a new version of Animal Farm but that it's one that he says will deliver a new take on it. Damn, this guy is talented.
Did you realise that he also worked as a second unit director on The Hobbit films and spent some two hundred days directing expanding his knowledge of being on that side of the camera for live action filming as well as performance capture and all the associated tools and skills that go along with it.
So is it really a surprise that he's leading his field and he's started a performance capture studio that also includes a research and development team as well as a specialist training and educational area?
His company, The Imaginarium, has a few projects they are working on to build their reputation and one of them sounds particularly interesting. They've secured the rights to the George Orwell novel Animal Farm (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) and have something special in mind for the project.
"I think we found a rather fresh way of looking at it...It is definitely using performance capture, but we are using an amalgamation of filming styles to create the environmments...We are in proof-of-concept stage at the moment, designing characters and experimenting on our stage with the designs...It is quite a wide canvas as to how much and how far we can take performance capture with quadrupeds and how much we will be using facial [capture]. We are not discounting the use of keyframe animation or puppeteering parts of animals. We are in an experimental phase; it's terribly exciting."
So right now it looks like anything is open and the fact that the studio has both a research and development team and a training area isn't something that's just for show or playing second place to pumping out films, this is a core reason that the studio is there, or so it would seem. If this wasn't the case then the studio wouldn't be spending the time on one of their early projects experimenting, and that's a good thing.
He went on to talk about the characters and the story, revealing that they aren't stopping short of taking risks and experimenting on any aspect of the film.
"We're keeping it fable-istic and [aimed at] a family audience. We are not going to handle the politics in a heavy-handed fashion. It is going to be emotionally centered in a way that I don't think has been seen before. The point of view that we take will be slightly different to how it is normally portrayed and the characters, We are examining this in a new light."
Mind you, I am a little disappointed to hear that they will be pulling away from the politics and making it more family orientated, not so much the second part but definitely the first. Isn't Animal Farm all about the politics underlying the story of the animals?
Still, with all this experimentation going on there's one clear thing, it's going to look good, but what about that story?