Weta Workshop artist Chris Guise – like many – wanted to make his own movies after seeing Steven Spielberg’s adventure classic Raiders of the Lost Ark. After discovering the world of Tintin, the Kiwi wanted to become an artist.
Now Guise, 38, has combined the two in what is a dream project – working with Spielberg on new 3D motion-capture blockbuster: The Adventures of Tintin.
“You hear people say you should never meet your heroes but I’m so glad I did because he’s just the nicest guy out,” Guise tells IF over the phone from Weta’s massive empire.
A former shopping mall cartoon portrait artist, Guise’s job on the Peter Jackson-produced film – released in Australia this December – was to lead the conceptual design team and come up with ideas for the look of Tintin in a real-world. The team, up to 12 artists from 2006, created about 2500 conceptual drawings – which Guise says is fast-becoming the norm.
“Peter Jackson said the brief was: ‘Get a Tintin character like Captain Haddock and make it as real as Gollum but make it still look like Captain Haddock”.
Guise, whose credits include the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, says the design team grew up as Tintin fans so they made certain that they didn’t drop the ball.
“We all of grew up with Tintin so it was quite a tricky job to feel what Steven and Peter wanted but also in making sure that we stayed as close to the books as possible. It was a very fine-line between the two,” he says.
“The good thing was, everyone really respected the original books – the last thing we wanted to do was throw the books out the door and make a whole different film.”
The film itself, based on a series of comic books created by Georges Remi (Hergé), is 85 per cent animation and 15 per cent live-action, according to a recent Spielberg interview. Starring in the Paramount/Columbia-distributed film are Andy Serkis, Jamie Bell, Simon Pegg, Daniel Craig and Mackenzie Crook.
Through wanting to give the fans something different, Guise has authored a new book which features interviews with key creators behind-the-scenes on their experiences making the film and their love for the “boy and his dog”. The book, entitled The Art of The Adventures of Tintin, features concept illustrations to final shots (and everything in between), including forwards from Spielberg and Jackson.
“When I made this book I wanted to write it as a fan would – so many times I’ve seen books where they show a drawing and it's pretty much the finished design of what you see in the film,” says Guise, who started on the 200-page book in February this year.
“I wanted a book where you can see the whole process behind the designs that ended up in the film.”
Guise is open to writing another book in a similar style if the situation arose again.
“I’ve never done it before in my life, it was a good experience. But I don’t think I’ll be challenging Stephen King anytime.”
The Art of The Adventures of Tintin, published by HarperCollins, is available now.
IF has three copies of the hardcover book to give away (RRP: $45). To have a chance of winning, click here.
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The Art of the Adventures of Tintin, written by Chris Guise