SDCC 2011: 5 Things Learned from the Spielberg Panel not about Jurassic Park 4

Editor, Festivals; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)
SDCC 2011: 5 Things Learned from the Spielberg Panel not about Jurassic Park 4

Steven Spielberg's Adventures of Tintin panel at San Diego Comic Con yesterday turned out to be one of the most entertaining events this week with the surprise arrival of Tintin producer Peter Jackson. The pair have an excellent rapport and kept the conversation interesting and entertaining. By now everyone knows about the announcement of Jurassic Park 4 coming down the pipe soon. Here are five more golden nuggets gleamed from the panel:

1. The 3D work by Weta on Tintin will be the best 3D animation we have ever seen. This is the exact same team that animated Avatar and they will bring that expertise plus the technological advancements of the last few years. The footage shown looked great and Spielberg reported that the new renderings look far better. There is no doubt that this is going to be a very impressive looking film.

2. There are going to be plenty more Tintin films, and Peter Jackson will likely direct the next one. It might not be the biggest news flash that the people behind Tintin would like to create a successful franchise, but Jackson's announcement that he would like to direct number two if the first film does well is certainly a good sign for the franchise. With a source library of 24 Tintin titles, there is plenty of material to draw from. The young gun-wielding and crime solving TintIn (a spiritual brother of Indy, according to Spielberg) sure looks to be an appealing character and with a "continuing adventures" ethos and technology that allows the actors to never age, we could be looking at the beginning of a very long running film franchise.

3. Spielberg and Jackson have formed a very special relationship. Spielberg revealed that the first time he met Peter Jackson was when he handed him his Oscar for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Since then they have gotten to know each other quite well and have formed what seems to be a great friendship. The pair had a delightful rapport, teasing each other playfully and reflecting on good times. Jackson joked that the only person worse with computers than he was Spielberg. It would seem very likely they will team up again for more non-Tintin projects soon. The biggest compliment came from Spielberg when he called working with Jackson the best collaboration he has had since working with his best friend George Lucas.

4. The film Spielberg gave away that he most wanted to direct was American Beauty. Though careful not to express any displeasure with the job that Sam Mendes did, Spielberg revealed that it was American Beauty that he would have liked to have had a shot at directing out of all the films he produced. He also said he the key to his success as a producer was to hire a director he trusted and then get the hell out of the way.

5. Questions from the audience at Comic Con can actually be pretty entertaining. I usually find myself extremely antsy to make an exit around they time panels open it up to the audience, but the folks at Comic Con do a good job (at least sometimes) of selecting questions worth asking and allowing entertaining people to step up to the microphone. Andy Serkis began the Q&A with a hilarious cameo shouting about if it was true that Daniel Craig met Clint Eastwood for the first time wearing mo-cap tights. From there a cute little kid asked Spielberg what his favorite film to direct was. This big softball screams plant as Spielberg then told a great story about E.T. being the impetus for spawning seven of his own children. But the highlight of the Q&A came when a guy stepped wearing a T-shirt that said, "If possible I would love to meet Steven Spielberg just to shake his hand and say thank you very much." Hall H cracked up and Spielberg beckoned him on stage before he had a chance to say anything. Spielberg and Jackson then fawned over him taking photos of him, with him, and of each other with him. The dude then finally got his chance to ask his question on the big stage mic saying with perfect comic timing, "I just wanted to know if you still shot on film." Another big laugh and Spielberg replied that definitely as long as the process allows it. Quite a day for that young man.

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