Thursday, January 10, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull special : photos of the movie set , Annie Leibowitz Vanity Fair's pictures and John Hurt interview

Lot of news today about the most awaited movie of the year 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'.
Let's begin first by some insider pictures of the secret decor inside the Universal Studios set revealed by the excellent site, and if all these ruins and vines remember you some decor elements of the Indiana Jones Adventure attraction, it's normal.
As i've said in my previous article about the movie, i won't be surprised at all if the movie set have some reminiscent of the attraction decor.

Here is a little description:
The set was large, tall and the main level lead to lower sublevels by series of small flights of steps. The main level was a bit uneven, had two peaks that indicated man made structures, sported a big dead looking tree, the ground was strewn with dead leaves and rocks, some with crystalline structures. The set was otherwise extensively dressed with mosses, branches, vines, grasses, spider webs. relics and ….skulls. A wall was decorated with carved skulls and there were stones with carvings on them. The set clearly iluded somewhere outdoors and there were devices in the set roof that produced lightnings. Early models of the set were marked with signs in Spanish that read “Cemetery”

Part two of this Indiana Jones news special is about the new issue of vanity fair , which include great photos of the cast by Annie Leibowitz , the one with Ford Lucas and Spielberg is above, and below are the pictures of Shia La Beouf with Karen Allen, and, much more interesting , the first picture of Cate Blanchett, playing a russian villain in the movie.

Here is below the video of the photosession

Part 3 of this Indy 4 special is a John Hurt Premiere interview on 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'
where the veteran actor doesn't exactly confirm, but also doesn't deny playing Indy's mentor Abner Ravenwood.

How did you get involved in the new Indiana Jones movie?

I was invited to do it. I'd never met Steven Spielberg before, and he called me out of the blue. I almost felt like saying, "Oh yeah, Steven Spielberg… uh-huh." Anyway, we had a chat and he said, "Do you want to come make a film for me?" I said, "Well, that sounds very inviting." "In Peru…" I said, "In Peru! Yes, that sounds extremely inviting." We looked into it and there were various things about it — like the time I had to be on set — where I thought, "No, this isn't going to work out." But then I was advised by everybody that it'd be a good thing to do. And I did enjoy it. I mean, look, talk about standing the chance of succeeding on the level that it's intended to succeed…

Not many actors would have thought twice, as it sounds like you did, about accepting a role in an Indiana Jones adventure…

I want to be careful here, because I don't want to make it sound as if I'm anti- the film — I'm not at all. But if I was asked what I would choose to do, it would be lightweight for me, at least for that sort of time commitment. But having accepted it, I enjoyed working with Steven hugely, and we had a great cast. I just wish we'd had something of fabulous interest between each other to act!

Did they show you the entire script?

I said, "I can't do it without seeing a script." They wanted everybody to do it without seeing a script because Steven — you know, "God" — was doing it. And I said, "Well, I need to have a little bit of previous knowledge even if God is doing it." So they sent a courier over with the script from Los Angeles, gave it to me at three o'clock in the afternoon in London, collected it again at eight o'clock in the evening, and he returned the next day to Los Angeles. So that was an expensive read.

Of course, you're not allowed to reveal anything under pain of death…

Well, we signed something. I suppose if I said things that were explicit, they would beat down on me.

A recent report pegs you as Abner Ravenwood, the father of Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood and Indy's mentor. The man Marion also tells Indy is dead in Raiders of the Lost Ark…

[A big grin spreads across Hurt's face] Hmmmm….

Okay, you won't divulge. What was it like working with Harrison Ford?

I've not a bad word to say about Harrison. He's a proper leading actor. He led the company. He knows the franchise backwards, but he's never cocky with it, he's hard-working, funny, self-deprecatory, utterly charming.

Were you amazed what he gets up to in the film when he's practically the same age as you?

He's younger than me. He's 65, I'm 67. [laughs] Junior… He always was two years younger than me. I told him that when he had his birthday. I said, "You're still younger than me, it doesn't matter how old you get." But he was fabulous, and he was fit, and he did all his fights. I mean, it was fantastic to watch.

How much action does your character see?

Well, I'm all in the second half. I'm one of what I called the Famous Five. You know, [from Enid Blyton's ripping adventure series] "The Famous Five came home tired but happy." [laughs] There was Harrison. There was the wonderful Shia LaBeouf, who also was very impressive. He's very perceptive, smart, again not at all cocky — none of those precocious, unfortunate traits. There was Cate [Blanchett] — ah, no, she wasn't in the Famous Five. It was Karen [Allen], me, Harrison, Shia, and Ray Winstone, who is one of the Famous Five but dodgy.

How was it working with God, a.k.a. Spielberg?

He has the extraordinary knack of being able to make you feel as though you've worked with him ten times before, as though you've known him all his life. That's a great quality for a director to possess. And his notes are very good — very simple, but very good. He doesn't hang about. When he's got it, he's got it.

Did you see George Lucas around much?

Occasionally. George is a bit socially crippled really. Not good with people. So I just left him alone.

Are they doing it the old-fashioned way as opposed to relying on CGI?

They shot as much as they possibly could, but they had some massive blue screens. There will be CGI, but it's based on a lot of the stuff that we shot, so it's not pure CGI. It's overlayed and so on. Steven does shoot as much as he possibly can and that's impressive. I mean we shot on five major Hollywood studios. We shot at Downey, Sony, Paramount, Warners, and Universal, either in their studios or the outside lots. We'd do two days here, then trot off and do a week there and then back to this one, while the other sets were being prepared. And the sets were fantastic, full of moving parts and things that all worked. You suddenly realized that you're almost a puppet. You come on and do your bit, and then you're off to the next one.

And how was Peru?

We never went to Peru in the end! They didn't dare, unfortunately. So we were on the lot the whole time, although we did go to Hawaii for a couple of weeks. But that's not Peru!

Vanity Fair Photos by Annie Leibowitz and video : copyright Vanity Fair

John Hurt interview : copyright Premiere magazine

Universal set pictures from the site

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Disneyland Dream Suite making-of video

Beginning January 31, 2008 – and continuing nearly every night throughout the year –a Year of a Million Dreams winner will be chosen randomly to spend a night inside Disneyland Park.

Guests awarded this dream will stay inside a brand new, in-park apartment originally designed for Walt Disney himself - formerly the Disney gallery. The lavish suite willfeature a private balcony with a dazzling view.

The picture above - "wallpaper" high-res - is the Dorothea Redmond artwork of the suite that was commissioned by Walt Disney. After the making-of video, you will find the Disneyland press release, but first, here is the making-of video - including some historical footage with Walt - that will show you how WDI imagineers are creating this " Dream suite"

Here is the Disneyland press release: For the first time in history, lucky guests will have the chance to spend an unforgettable night inside Disneyland Park during the Year of a Million Dreams most nights starting January 31, 2008 during the 2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway. A guest will be escorted on the same day awarded into the most extraordinary accommodations at Disneyland Resort: the Disneyland Dream Suite, an in-park apartment originally planned for Walt Disney himself.

The overnight stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite will be a highlight among the more than a million “dream come true” experiences awarded through random process to eligible Disneyland Resort guests and mail-in participants in the 2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway. Mail-in winners of prizes that require use on day awarded, such as the Disneyland Dream Suite, will receive a prize of comparable value.

Disney Imagineers are hard at work remodeling a suite of rooms above New Orleans Square in the Park, conceived by Walt Disney as a private apartment for his family and closest friends. The rooms, which most recently housed The Disney Gallery, will be restored to Disney’s original vision of deluxe living quarters. Vintage design illustrations, created under Disney’s personal direction, have been recovered and are being used as inspiration for the look, furnishings and other décor elements in the Suite. Special design touches are being incorporated to evoke memories of Disney’s diverse interests and the rich heritage of Disneyland.

The guests chosen through a random process to enjoy a “dream stay” in the Disneyland Dream Suite will be following in the footsteps of Walt Disney. His dedication to the constant growth and development of Disneyland resulted in frequent overnight stays in a small private apartment which remains today above the Fire House on Main Street, U.S.A. In the 1960s, as plans were developed for the New Orleans Square area, Disney brought in illustrator and designer Dorothea Redmond (Gone with the Wind) and set decorator Emile Kuri (Mary Poppins, It’s a Wonderful Life) to help him create a larger, more lavish apartment where he could entertain friends, family, VIP guests and dignitaries.

Unfortunately, Disney passed away before the Suite was completed. Over the years, the rooms were used as offices and to entertain visiting business associates until, in 1987, the space became The Disney Gallery, a unique venue displaying artwork originally created during the development of various Disney movies and theme park attractions. Only now, 40 years later, is Disney’s dream being fulfilled. The rooms are being returned to their original intended purpose and, as Disney wished, the Disneyland Dream Suite will be occupied by overnight guests.

“Our plan has been to use the renderings that Walt worked on with Dorothea Redmond and to replicate those as exactly as we can,” said Walt Disney Imagineering Art Director Kim Irvine. “Her illustrations were very specific, with a color and style for each room.

“But to make it special for the guests, we want it to be more than just a beautiful suite. We want it to be filled with things that might have inspired Walt as he dreamed of Disneyland.”

Located above Pirates of the Caribbean in the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland, the 2,600-square-foot Disneyland Dream Suite includes a living room, open-air patio, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. In addition to that night’s lodging in the Disneyland Dream Suite, each selected 2008 Disney Dreams Giveaway winner of the Disneyland Dream Suite will also be celebrated as the Honorary Grand Marshal in that day’s Disneyland parade. The winner and their guests will enjoy dinner, late-night snacks and beverages, and the dazzling view overlooking New Orleans Square and the Rivers of America, where a private balcony provides an ideal vantage point on nights when fireworks or the “Fantasmic!” spectacular are presented.

Guests may enter the Dream Suite by climbing the grand staircase outside the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. An elevator will be available to accommodate guests with disabilities. Through the doorway at the top of the stairs is the Living Room, to be designed in a French Provincial style reflecting the New Orleans Square setting. Unusual decorative items like a full-size carousel horse, a mechanical songbird and original wall paintings of European castles will conjure up memories of Walt Disney and the inspirations that went into creating the magical world of Disneyland.

The Suite features not one, but two Master Bedrooms. In one, the spirit of early 20th century innovation and the American frontier will be summoned with an earthy color scheme, leather furniture, a cast-iron stove, an electric train and vintage mechanical toys. The other Master Bedroom is on the side of the residence nearest Adventureland, and its lush décor and atmosphere will evoke the exotic flavor of jungle adventure stories as told in the Victorian era.

The Bayou-themed Patio, central to the Disneyland Dream Suite and open to the sky above, will be filled with tropical vegetation, furnished with comfortable chaises and illuminated by Chinese lanterns. Using a type of Disney magic familiar to guests on Pirates of the Caribbean, the Patio will also be visited by fireflies.

As guests settle in for a stay in the Disneyland Dream Suite, they’ll discover special effects surprises in each room. It could be a special tune in a striking clock, a sunset or a starscape that appears when the lights go down, subtle audio enhancements, or something totally unexpected.

Artwork, photo and video : copyright Disney

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Disney California Adventure placemaking artwork

I was so busy this week that i didn't find the time to post new topics , and i am deeply sorry about that. So today, here is a great topic about the artwork and model of the huge placemaking for Disney's California Adventure.

You may have seen these renderings on different forums, but i've tried to enhance them, and new details can be seen, now.
However, some are in good definition, others in low definition, i wish i could find some with a better definition, but it's better than nothing.

First, here is the map of what is going to change.

Let's begin by the beginning, i.e the future new entrance, which looks a lot like the one at Disney Hollywood Studios

The new "entrance" street will be reminiscent of Los Angeles 1920's architecture

The Walt Disney Plaza will host a new "friends" statue with Walt Disney and Mickey, a recreation of the Carthay Circle Theater. where Snow White was premiered at in 1937.and a new version of the " Walt Disney Story "

And then, there is of course the new Pacific Electric Red Cars where guests will board for a little ride from the park's entrance to Tower of terror

The major expansion in the Timon parking lot is the one everybody is waiting for, the 200 million dollars Cars land.
Let's have a look first to the Radiator Springs Racers "test track" technology major E-ticket ride and the Cars land overview.

The Cars drive-in restaurant should be great and remember something to anyone who had dinner at the Sci-Fi dinner restaurant at the Disney Mgm studios...
UPDATE 1/8 !! : In his new update on Al Lutz reveal that the Cars drive-in restaurant is probably canceled...more latest news about DCA placemaking in Al's article HERE

Two smaller "C" ticket attractions will take place in Cars land, "Mater's towing" where " Tow Mater will be the disc jockey at a spinner ride that will have passengers being whipped around the desert floor in truck trailers ".

And Luigi's Tires using a similar technology to old Tomorrowland Flying Saucers, hopefully it should work better than 40 years ago!

The awaited Little Mermaid ride is going to be a real E-ticket, and it seems even better than expected

Not so far from it will be the DCA placemaking preview center

On Paradise Pier, Toy Story Midway mania will be the first to open later this year, and here is two pictures of the imagineers installing and testing the ride vehicle

Always on the Boardwalk, the Boardwalk games will be rethemed

As well as the Mulholland Madness coaster that will be rethemed as Goofy's Flying Academy

Always on Paradise pier, he new victorian architecture of the boardwalk buildings and the giant Mickey Mouse face on the sun wheel

And let's not forget the spectacular Disney world of colour water show, with its newly built viewing area , and the Beer garden

You can have more details of how this DCA placemaking will look in Al Lutz article on and in his future updates.

Also, the excellent mice chat forum, from where most of the renderings you saw here are coming from have a great DCA project tracker page, don't miss it!

Artwork , Photos and Screen capture: copyright Disney

Map: copyright Los Angeles Times