By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist November 14, 2012 at 11:40AM
Update: Images removed by request of the filmmakers.
The first time Jean-Pierre Jeunet made a film in English, it was not a great success. The director, then best known for his work with Marc Caro on "Delicatessen" and "The City Of Lost Children," came to Hollywood to direct "Alien: Resurrection," back in 1997, but the film was widely derided, and the filmmaker returned to France, where he made a triumphant comeback with "Amelie." Now, fifteen years after his first English-language picture, and nearly four years after his last film, "MicMacs," Jeunet has returned to the U.S, for "The Young & Prodigious Spivet."
Based on the best-selling novel "The Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet" by Reif Larsen, and following a young amateur cartographer, the titular Spivet, who travels cross-country on a freight train to visit the Smithsonian Institute, the film stars Helena Bonham-Carter, Callum Keith Rennie, Judy Davis, Kathy Bates and Jeunet mascot Dominique Pinon alongside newcomer Kyle Catlett in the lead role. It marks Jeunet's first time shooting in 3D, and it's this, and the director's use of the Arri Alexa cameras for the lensing, that has provided the first look at some behind-the-scenes shots of the film, thanks to an article from CreativeCow (via Bleeding Cool).
There's not a lot revealed, bar some glimpses of Catlett as Spivet, complete with natty cowboy hat, suggesting that we might be about to see Jeunet's love letter to Americana. The production design suggests that the director's trademark spectacular production design will be alive and well too, while one can also see DoP Thomas Hardemeier ("22 Bullets"), in his first collaboration with the filmmaker, at work as well. The film's stereographer Demetri Portelli ("Hugo") tells the magazine “This is an important film for the 3D industry, Jean-Pierre is a master filmmaker who is shooting very ambitious material on a modest budget. The film stands to prove that extraordinary 3D images can be created of the highest quality with a director who visualizes the story from its inception to be shot in ‘native 3D capture.’ Jean-Pierre embraced the medium with on-set 3D systems to tell the story of ‘T.S. Spivet.’ The director will seize many 3D opportunities ‘in the moment’ as he blocks the scenes and composes his shots. I am amazed at Jeunet’s storyboards and how he conceived the film originally in 3D from the script stage. He is playing with the depth space and the timing for his 3D moments.”
Filming's still ongoing, so it'll be a while before we'll see more from the movie, but we're excited to see a director as visually inclined as Jeunet follow in the footsteps of people like Scorsese and Ang Lee into 3D. When announced, the film was being targeted loosely for October 2013, which suggests we could see it doing the fall festival circuit just before then; an NYFF premiere, perhaps?