Richard Verrier has a Sunday Calendar cover story on animation today in Hollywood with some interesting insights on “Rango,” which hits theaters March 4. Here’s an excerpt…
When Gore Verbinski was directing his upcoming movie, “Rango,” a spaghetti western-like tale set in a desert town overrun by bandits, he did what he typically does: have his principal actors, led by Johnny Depp and fellow cast members that include Harry Dean Stanton, Abigail Breslin and Ray Winstone, act out key scenes.
The actors wore western costumes — Depp sported a giant cowboy hat and bandana and Winstone packed a sidearm. They had the usual array of props, including whiskey glasses and sawhorses, on a stage at Universal that also featured a saloon with a 40-foot-long wooden bar and the requisite swinging doors and even a chuckwagon. This wasn’t a run-through for another one of Verbinski’s big-budget live- action movies. It was all done as part of a 20-day shoot to capture the voice tracks for his first animated film, “Rango,” about a chameleon — played by Depp — with an identity crisis.
In animated movies, actors usually voice the lines of their characters in a recording booth. But Verbinski figured he’d draw out more lively dialogue if the actors physically performed their scenes onstage — just like on a live action set. “It was just like rehearsing a high school play,” said Verbinski, best known for directing the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. “Why give up on what we do in live action?”
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— Richard Verrier
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