Tintin’s secret Hollywood adventure

March 08, 2009 | 1:42 p.m.

Tin_tin_2Tatiana Siegel has an interesting piece in Variety about "The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn," a long-elusive labor of love for Steven Spielberg that is now underway. The director of "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" and "Jaws" is teaming with "Lord of the Rings" and "King Kong" auteur Peter Jackson, and the article gets into the secrecy around the project as well as the logistics of that staggering partnership. It’s a lengthy piece and well worth reading. Here’s an excerpt:   

Steven Spielberg this week will quietly wrap 32 days of performance-capture lensing on "Tintin," then hand the project to producer Peter Jackson, who will focus on the film’s special effects for the next 18 months.

Although the baton-pass is stealthy, "Tintin" is anything but a low-profile project. And that’s just the first of many contradictions inherent with the film, which brings together two of cinema’s visionaries.

The Tintin comicbook series about a globetrotting teenaged boy reporter, which originated 80 years ago in Belgium, is wildly popular in many countries around the world. In the U.S., however, the character is little-known, especially among children.

Spielberg and Jackson’s respective camps have tried to keep a lid on the details of what is expected to become a three-film franchise while hyping the one-of-a-kind aspects of "Tintin’s" motion-capture technology, which is being created by Jackson’s New Zealand-based effects house Weta.

Just don’t ask too many questions. Spielberg’s longtime spokesman Marvin Levy, who welcomed a story on "The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn," said, "You have to see it to understand [the technology]. It really can’t be described."

But he quickly nixed the idea of a visit to the set. "That wouldn’t be feasible," he says.

The film’s other producer, Kathleen Kennedy, is happy to talk about "Tintin," but admitted the world Spielberg and Jackson are creating is hard to describe.

"It’s extremely difficult to explain to someone unless they are standing here next to me," Kennedy says from the Los Angeles set. "And usually then their reaction is, ‘Oh my god.’"

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–Geoff Boucher

RELATED: Is Tintin gay?

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