Kelly Blatz, Weta Workshop and the creatures of ‘Skyrunners’

Nov. 24, 2009 | 9:36 p.m.

Any project that involves Weta Workshop demands attention. When Jevon Phillips heard that the New Zealand outfit responsible for the memorable movie magic of the “Lord of the Rings” franchise was working with Disney XD, he picked up the phone to find out more. Here’s his report:

The Disney XD television movie “Skyrunners” is the tale of two brothers who stumble across a downed UFO and decide to keep it — please, kids, don’t try this at home — and then proceed to uncover an alien plot to take over Earth.

Kelly Blatz (of the hit Disney XD gamer series “Aaron Stone”) and newcomer Joey Pollari star as the brothers. For Blatz, acting became a career path of choice after he fell in love with Steven Spielberg’s films of the fantastic, among them “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and Blatz’s favorite, “Jurassic Park.”

Recently, as the 22-year-old actor-musician took a break from meeting with the members of his “vintage-rock” band, Capra, he talked about coming face-to-face with a Weta-created alien creature in “Skyrunners.”


“It was amazing,” Blatz said. “We walk in there and it’s all dark. This thing — no matter how close you are it still looks completely real.  So everyone [steps back] — it was really eerie. Just the lighting and everything. They built this thing that was so unique and frightening.  It was just this transparent thing with a mouth full of teeth… And these people were so great and so talented and so passionate … we were picking their brains about working on “Lord of the Rings” and everything. I mean, these people are Oscar winners.”  Here’s a podcast of a longer “Skyrunners” interview from Disney XD :

The program airs Nov. 27, so if you’re not at some Black Friday sale, you may want to tune in. But you can also have the alien ships come to you;  there’s a Google Maps program that the telefilm’s online team cooked up that allows you to put in your address, access satellite photos of the area and get back a picture of a crashed spacecraft at your doorstep. Why look, there’s a crashed spaceship next to The Times building on sunny Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles…


— Jevon Phillips

Photo credit: Disney XD



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