Obviously I know about the negotiations, but I didn't think they were announcing anything officially.
Alleycat posted a link to this over on the Hellboy Movie Board. It came from The X Bridge site by Jeff Harris.
Hellboy, Tony Hawk, Marvel movies, Stan Lee Movies (not the same as Marvel Movies): 2006 is looking a LOT Clearer For Toonami 3/12/06 by Jeff Harris
You know how the news at last month's upfronts were sporadic at best? Well, I managed to pry a little more out of Cartoon Network. Nothing that'll impress otakus much, but I did manage to get a few things out of them:
Following is a response to your question about TOONAMI from Cartoon Network's Marc Buhaj, vice president of programming and scheduling...
"Readers should rest easy in that 2006 is easily shaping up as "Year of the Toonami!" We have an enviable cast of stars who will be returning, along with a number of movies and events that should please even the most ardent action fan. 2006 is a blockbuster year for viewers as we harvest a bumper crop of premiere episodes. There will be new seasons of Naruto, Zatchbell and One Piece. We will also be treated to new episodes of Bobobo-Bo-BoBobo, IGPX and the final episodes of Justice League Unlimited.
Viewers can also enjoy the premiere of blockbuster movies. These include the world premiere of the Teen Titans feature, Tony Hawk in Boom Boom Sabotage, The Ultimate Avengers I & II, Ironman plus two Hellboy movies (starring the voice of Ron Perlman). There will also be two Stan Lee original movies. The network will also see the launch of the Fantastic Four series.
This is the strongest starting line-up in Toonami history. So strap yourself in as we are going to have a lot of surprises throughout the year."
Wow, now I've seen everything. Not only is Toonami going to be the premiere home of the Teen Titans movie, but it also seems that we're getting not one, but TWO Hellboy movies on Toonami and a couple of movies from the mind of Stan Lee, unquestionably one of the greatest comic creators of all time. The year of Toonami. I like the sound of that. Stay tuned true believers.
Pays to troll the net, I guess. Thank you, Alleycat. -- Tad
It never hurts to have an actor in your cast that is currently starring in a hit movie, but we had JOHN HURT signed to reprise his role of Professor Broom long before V for Vendetta opened at the box office. We're set to record John at the beginning of next month.
He will record the present day Trevor Broom for our second movie. James Arnold Taylor provides the voice for the younger Broom who is seen in flashback sequences. He also does a great impression of John, so much so that when he recorded dummy lines of the elder Broom, Doug Jones said, "I just closed my eyes and suddenly felt I was back in those wonderful days on the set."
John will remain in London when we record him on an ISDN line. That connection allows me to sit in the recording studio here and listen to him through the speakers sounding every bit as good as if he was on the other side of the glass instead of the other side of the Atlantic. Sometimes you can listen to a performance on a telephone and let the studio send you the recording. It saves money but it only works with an actor who is very familiar to you and who has a distinctive voice. When we recorded Gilbert Gottfried for Disney's Aladdin TV series, the performance really wasn't about nuance; the telephone worked fine.
You'll note I refer to John's character as "Broom" and not "Bruttenholm." In movies a character's name is what you call him. Since we're not dealing in a written medium, having any reference to his "actual" name would probably be confusing and a waste of footage. I don't think the live action movie referred to him as anything but Broom. I asked Mike about dual names and he said that was a construct of John Byrne's in Seed of Destruction. Byrne is evidently an Anglophile who knows about the nickname tradition in traditional English schools of the period, or something like it.
Mike was amazed by John Hurt's physical resemblance to his character. It's so close that several people have asked him if he had based the character on John. Mike also appreciated the warmth the actor brought to the role. I think it's the one character who Mike is sorry about killing in the comics. Our second movie centers on Hellboy's concern for Broom and an old adversary of the Professor's who has returned. The image on the right is the concept drawing by Cheeks. I think it is one of his strongest translations of a Mignola character and I am absolutely delighted to have John Hurt play the part. --Tad
What you see above is a partial color script for our second movie. The first movie didn't get one of these because we didn't have the time. The purpose is to get an overall look at the movie and how color matches story. The above is missing about a third of the movie and we're still changing it but even so you can see certain color schemes repeating. That's not because we ran out of colors, it's because we're emphasizing running themes, characters or connecting certain locations to certain characters. So the above is just an early work in progress (and I purposely degraded the image).
Many people tell Mike Mignola that they like his black and white art more than after it's colored. He understands the compliment intended but says they're missing a large part of his story. He works very closely with Dave Stewart to make sure certain panels have specific colors. Even the color of a character's eyes may suggest a relationship with another character.This is very obvious in his story, THE ISLAND. A scholar is skewered by spears and his blood is the same color as the monster that attacks Hellboy. (If you can't find it in your comic shop, it'll be collected later this year. Don't worry.)
We're trying to do the same thing in the movies but, as always, our enemy is time. I'd like a week just to go through the movie, even breaking down sequences into micro-sequences, and discuss it all with the color stylists and background painters. As it is, some color was discussed with Mike while we wrote the outline. I was thinking about it while editing the scripts. I jot down notes when going through storyboards then get really serious as the background painters start. Thank goodness they are so talented and can make sense of my babbling.
I think we'll have sequences that work great but the overall use of color may be a little jumbled. (I hope you appreciate that I try to make this blog realistic and not just a puff piece. I don't want you going out there and saying, "Stones says the color is going to suck." ) It may be jumbled because there's several factors that can determine the color you use:
Time of day (easy). Mood/emotion (should I make an early morning sequence, blue, pink, or grey? Which seems happy, which seems sad?) Location ( If green is the color of a bad guy, should his house be green? What color is it on a "happy" morning as opposed to a "scary" morning?) Character related (If the green bad guy is defeating the hero, should the background turn a little green? What if it's morning? Is it a happy morning because the bad guy is winning or a sad morning because the hero is losing?)
The specifics don't matter but ideally your "color vocabulary" should be consistent throughout the movie. There's always a certain consistency because every decision is filtered through the director's taste. But it's a little tricky when I'm intentionally working at the edge of my comfort zone. Luckily I've had a chance to push color recently.
Okay, here's the rabbit part. Next week, The Adventures of Brer Rabbit comes out on DVD. It's the project I produced just before starting Hellboy. Buy it, rent it, watch with a friend, I don't care - I don't get royalties or residuals but there is a sequence that I art directed myself. It's a villain song, Brer Fox and Brer Wolf to be exact. I didn't write the song or lyrics but I came up with the gags, action and storyboarded it myself. But I wanted it to have a special look, something like "Pink Elephants on Parade" from Dumbo. So I ended up painting the color keys myself and even did the color choices on the characters -- so if you hate that sequence, it is definitely my fault. Anyway, this isn't a plug, I'm making a point. There's no special color relationship to the story but I was very specific with what colors went with which. There's a nightmarish feel to certain color combinations and it came out really cool. (It doesn't look like anything else in the picture but what the hey.) But playing with such extreme colors gave me the confidence to push things more on the Hellboy movies.
Of course, the fact that Mike and Dave had been doing it for years didn't hurt. ;)
See you later. --Tad
Remember those "these turned out to be a good thing" inserts I talked about a few posts back? Well, all those storyboards are coming through at the same time which is why my updates are few and far between.
How fast are things going? Friday is Phil Weinstein's last full day here! He's only the DIRECTOR of the first movie with me. One of the realities of the animation industry is that, for the most part, you have to take work when you can get it. We would like to extend Phil's time here (those inserts again) but he had already accepted another gig based on his original end date. Since that gig extends several months past any extension we can offer him, we must bid him adieu.
We'll still be working with him, he's not about to just walk away from this project. We'll take any time he can give us... if the work load doesn't actually kill him.
Meanwhile, shipments are going out. I'm spending more time approving color which is looking really cool and scary at the same time -- no one will be able to accuse us of being timid. There's talk of an ad announcing the movies -- somewhere. Selma Blair and Doug Jones will be in next week to record new material. Special brochures are being designed for MIPCOM. Composers have submitted music cues based on the animatic reel (some really sweet stuff there). Some extra storyboard people have been brought on to help with the crunch. Andy Chiang got to design a baby Hellboy. Vic Cook has his first sequence on animatic already. A few too many 14 hour days happening for me but we're still having fun here.
Okay, gotta go.
What color is Hellboy? Whoa! Not so fast. Do you mean Hellboy at dawn or squatting next to a campfire? Hellboy in moonlight or Hellboy underwater? In a subterranean temple or pine forest?
The color stylist works together with the background painter to create the illusion of specific place or a time of day. An animated TV show is usually limited to day, night and shadow colors. That means that no matter what the background the director pretty much has to pick one of those.
We're obviously going beyond that although we're limited by time because to really do it right you'd be picking the specific colors for every shot in the picture. That's what theatrical feature films do. But Tracy Jones, Kim Bitsui, James Gallegos, Wei Zhao, Gary Eggleston and Lin Zheng are all working to create the appropriate magic to create the right mood in these stories.
In the comics, the great Dave Stewart works closely with Mike Mignola to use color as not just a tool of time and place but one of story too. Here and there we attempt the same thing. We are not limiting our palette to that of the comic but often limit the color choices in any one scene to emphasize a story point. The two examples below are just quick mock ups by me but they show how we might use color to underline the presence of evil, changing the tint as it makes its move. You can also see how the colors of Hellboy change to fit into the scene. It's not as simple as slipping a colored gel into a spotlight; every different color must be rethought to fit the painting behind it.
Playing with such color changes really underlines how a animated movie is a group effort, even more so than in live action. A variety of artists of different temperaments working together to build a movie one frame at a time. -- Tad