Friday, April 27, 2007

Camera Obscura - The CIA and Jack Kirby; Hot Fuzz and More Movie News

There's a connection between the CIA, Spock's ears, comic book legend Jack Kirby and the Iranian Hostage Crisis from the Carter era. The story could and likely will be made into a movie soon, especially since Wired magazine this month has a story on how the CIA used all those elements in a daring rescue of hostages.

On Turner Classic Movies from time to time, they've shown a little behind-the-scenes movie about makeup master John Chambers, who did design and make Spock's ears, as well as creating the unique (at the time) latex mask method for the "Planet of the Apes" movies.

As the Wired article reports, agent Tony Mendez put together a fake movie production company they called Studio Six Productions with Chamber's help and made a plan to use latex masks to disguise a handful of the hostages and help them escape:

All they needed now was a film — and Chambers had the perfect script. Months before, he had received a call from a would-be producer named Barry Geller. Geller had purchased the rights to Roger Zelazny's science fiction novel, Lord of Light, written his own treatment, raised a few million dollars in starting capital from wealthy investors, and hired Jack Kirby, the famous comic book artist who cocreated X-Men, to do concept drawings. Along the way, Geller imagined a Colorado theme park based on Kirby's set designs that would be called Science Fiction Land; it would include a 300-foot-tall Ferris wheel, voice-operated mag-lev cars, a "planetary control room" staffed by robots, and a heated dome almost twice as tall as the Empire State Building. Geller had announced his grand plan in November at a press conference attended by Jack Kirby, former football star and prospective cast member Rosey Grier, and several people dressed like visitors from the future."

Few thought the idea would work, and the story of how it all came together is fantastic. The magazine even includes some of the storyboard drawings used to fake the Iranians - and many in Hollywood.

Another behind-the-scenes movie master is the center of a new documentary, film and sound editor Walter Murch. Cinematical's James Rocchi got a viewing of the film and reports on it here. Murch is probably more responsible for the look and sound of movies today than any other person. He went from editing movies by hand on the Movieola system to computers, then on to Avid and the non-linear Mac based Final Cut Pro. His sound designs and creations also led to the 5.1 sound systems used today.

Still, his interests and intelligence go far beyond film. He was recently interviewed for the architectural blog, BLDBLOG, where he discusses cosmology and architecture and offers a theory that the Heliocentric Pantheon in Rome was a key used by Copernicus to create an accurate description of our solar system.

" ...
I then superimposed Copernicus’s drawing over an image of the Pantheon’s dome – and found that the ratios of the circles in his drawing and the ratios of the circles of the Pantheon line up almost exactly. Seeing that alignment was one of those wonderful moments where you suddenly feel a strong current of connection with the past.."

Walter Murch just rocks, people.

---- In some other notable news this week, a scene was shot for the production of the Will Smith version of the "I Am Legend" movie which is being touted as the most expensive single scene yet made. The cost is a minimum of $5 million, but may in fact be much higher. It's no simple task to take over the Brooklyn Bridge for a few hours.

---- One of the funniest movies in recent years was the British zombie-comedy "Shaun of the Dead." And I admit it, they had me as soon as the Goblins' music from Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" started playing. And the movie just got better and better. This weekend, the same crew of filmmakers and actors turn to another genre to have fun with - the buddy-cop movie. Some behind the scenes talk for this weekend's new movie, "Hot Fuzz", with Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg can be heard here, at DVD Talk Radio. Other interviews on the site include Oliver Stone, Stan Lee, Kevin Smith and Eli Roth.

---- Rasslin fans get to see their faves blow up real good in a movie opening this weekend called "Condemned". I doubt if the script here will be any better than the scripts rasslers use on any given title match. However, the idea for this movie was much better when it was called "Battle Royale." Take my advice and seek that one out, unless yer rasslin love has you pinned.

---- Thank the good Freedonian for pointing out the very best ever moment in the history of the show "American Idol." Jack Black takes the show to it's peak.

1 comment:

  1. Speaking of TCM, did you get a chance to dig the Russ Meyer Double Feature this Fri. night on the Underground? A to the dubya to the E to the some.

    "Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!" plus Mudhoney equals a fun damn Friday night.