Monday, April 06, 2009

David Fincher Visits "Avatar" - Set To Shoot "Rendezvous With Rama" In MoCap 3D?

Jim here. I just got some rather interesting news from one of my new sources about recent visits to James Cameron's AVATAR production:

"I can't say too much about Avatar, I'm sure you understand, but I can confirm that David Fincher visited the set around the time that Ridley Scott stopped by. Just thought you'd like to know. Alien 3-D, anyone? Haha... love the site."

While an ALIEN franchise movie in 3D would be awesome, that is not quite what I am thinking...

We know that Fincher was interested in shooting HEAVY METAL in 3D (last I heard this project is in doldrums) - his quote to MTV was: "I'm in talks right now to do a series of CG-animated 3-D films for HEAVY METAL." It could be that he was referring to animation 3D and not stereoscopic 3D however so I am leaning away from HM3D.

But I am thinking that Fincher is aiming to do RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA (based on the Arthur C. Clarke novel) in motion capture 3D. Again, here is more from MTV on this from January 2008 interview:

MTV: How about "Rendezvous With Rama"? That's a legendary sci-fi property you've wanted to do for a while.
Fincher: I'm waiting to get a script. It's my understanding that [producer] Lori [McReary] and Morgan [Freeman] have a script, and when they're happy with it, they'll send it to me. It's a project I've always loved. It's probably technologically within striking distance right now. That was always the thing: You couldn't afford to build these things as sets. It's just too huge.

MTV: Would you shoot it using a lot of green screen?
Fincher: I think it's more along the lines of motion-capture. There's probably a week or two onboard the ship that you'd have to do the weightlessness and the landing before they get to Rama. We'd probably do it with some kind of performance-capture.

So. Connect the dots. A well established director who knows of, and is interested in 3D. A guy who has a SciFi project in the works for years but wasn't able to pull it off without modern filmmaking technology (sounds familiar doesn't it?). And a guy who recently visited the AVATAR set to see Cameron and performance capture in action. Other directors have come and were HEAVILY influenced by what they saw - even Ridley Scott is back at SciFi after vowing to never do another one. That is the power behind what Cameron is doing with AVATAR.

Note that he used the term "Performance Capture" and not "Motion Capture". Performance Capture is the term used by Cameron as he alludes to the capture of an actor's performance and not just body motion.

So I submit to you - David Fincher is gearing up to shoot RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA in stereoscopic, performance capture 3D using similar techniques that are being used in Cameron's AVATAR.

Here is what actor Morgan Freeman had to say about the project to MTV back in 2007: "I play the captain of the spaceship Endeavor that is charged with rendezvousing with this thing from outer space to find out what it is [and] what its intentions are. It's a very intellectual science fiction film, a very difficult book to translate cinematically... we have found it very difficult to translate, to get ready for film. There are no guns, no explosions. Although it's fiction, it's all based on pure science."

So it sounds like a very compelling movie whose limelight may soon be upon us. Freeman would be an excellent choice as a starship captain! I thought he was one of only a few things that enabled us to suspend disbelief in DEEP IMPACT so his presence is definitely welcomed here. What are your thoughts on this classic SciFi tale being shot in "AVATAR" mode? :-)

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