Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Tilda Swinton Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In 'Doctor Strange' Tilda Swinton Joins Benedict Cumberbatch In 'Doctor Strange' Watch: Jason Segel Plays David Foster Wallace Opposite Jesse Eisenberg In The First Trailer For ‘The End Of The Tour’ Watch: Jason Segel Plays David Foster Wallace Opposite Jesse Eisenberg In The First Trailer For ‘The End Of The Tour’ The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Lonely Island Movie Is Called 'Conner4real,’ Targets Justin Bieber & Katy Perry, Adds Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, & More Lonely Island Movie Is Called 'Conner4real,’ Targets Justin Bieber & Katy Perry, Adds Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, & More Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Effects Supremo Joe Letteri Says Zack Snyder Is Placing Emphasis On In-Camera Effects In 'Man of Steel'

The Playlist By Todd Gilchrist | The Playlist December 17, 2011 at 10:45AM

There are few people in Hollywood who know more about special effects than Joe Letteri – which is probably why he’s earned five Oscars in the past eight years, and worked in some capacity on almost every major blockbuster released in Hollywood.
6

Also Busy Updating Technology In Readiness For 'Avatar 2'

Joe Letteri Superman Avatar

There are few people in Hollywood who know more about special effects than Joe Letteri – which is probably why he’s earned five Oscars in the past eight years and worked in some capacity on almost every major blockbuster released in Hollywood. Predictably, Letteri has a full slate in front of him with two “Hobbit” movies, an “Avatar” sequel, and a potential “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” follow-up forthcoming. But during a recent conversation with the effects guru (in which he also discussed working with Andy Serkis on the first 'Apes'; read that here), Letteri revealed that he’s also working on Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman film “Man of Steel.” And despite reports that the title character would be brought to life (so to speak) largely via CGI, Letteri told The Playlist that Snyder has been focusing heavily on practical rather than digital effects.

“Zack’s going for pretty much everything in-camera as much as he can,” Letteri said in an interview Monday in New York. “I mean, the reason to think about Superman in CGI, you don’t need him full CGI as a character, because he’s basically a full person. But you just don’t want the flying scenes to look like he’s on a wire. So [the question is] how do you use CG to make that happen, and that’s still kind of being played with right now.”

Several years ago before the release of “The Matrix Reloaded,” the Wachowskis argued that their aerial sequences would show a human character flying in the most accurate way possible, which, at that time, they probably did. (Certainly the absence of wires and rear projection helped their cause.) But with “Man of Steel” no doubt featuring some of its own air time, Letteri suggested that there are still advances left to be made in that particular area. “I think it could still be refined,” Letteri said. “Because there’s always room for interpretation there. The idea of a human flying, because you can’t actually tell how they’re powering themselves, leaves it open to trying different things.”

While Letteri didn’t reveal exactly how they were depicting Superman’s flying sequences, he said that they were primarily focusing on what was in the script and what Snyder wanted rather than referring to the decades upon decades of comic book images they could potentially draw upon as a reference point. “That’s completely story-driven,” he confessed. “That’s going to depend on your shot and your composition, and the performance, and in that case, that’s kind of Zack’s call – what is he looking for there?”

As its (undeservedly) maligned predecessor, Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns” was dismissed as an emotional reinvention of Superman that was too loyal to the Donner films of the 1980s, and perhaps more importantly, featured too little action except for when the character was lifting enormous pieces of rock. Letteri revealed that although the film will feature more action than its predecessor, Snyder was still focusing on character over pure spectacle. “There is a bit of that to set it up and to kick it off, but actually it feels like it’s more character-driven, yeah.”

In terms of “Avatar 2,” meanwhile, Letteri, like most the other actors and filmmakers who will be involved, is just waiting for a script, although he’s making sure that the production’s technical infrastructure is up-to-date for the moment when writer-director James Cameron delivers it. “We’re really just waiting to see what the script is going to be,” Letteri explained. “I mean, because the technology has been evolving since the time we’ve done it, we keep everything we have up to date; we’re updating the characters and keeping things sort of in a state of readiness, because I think one of the things Jim will probably want to do as he’s writing is to start pre-visualizing some of the scenes and start working things out. So we’re making sure that’s all ready to go, but we don’t have an actual start date.”

In recent interviews, Cameron hinted at the possibility of exploring the underwater world of Pandora. With so many other projects in front of him, he said he hasn’t jumped the gun on what locales might be involved, although they did flirt with that possibility during production on the first “Avatar.” “We did a little bit of it in the first film, the bits under the river, but not enough to do what it sounds like he’s describing,” he said. But as with any of the filmmakers he’s worked with, he’s relying on a specific and collaborative relationship with Cameron to guide him, even if he’s seasoned enough to be ready for action, regardless what the filmmaker throws at him.

“We have techniques in place to do that, so we know where we’ll start,” he said. “But we’re waiting to see what specifically he’s asking for before we figure out how deeply we need to get into it.”
 

This article is related to: Joe Letteri, Avatar 2, Man Of Steel, Zack Snyder, James Cameron, Interviews, Interview


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates