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Quint visits the preproduction offices of THE MUTANT CHRONICLES and brings back a purty piece of art!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with another tale of my adventures through the English country side. This here venture actually popped up after I booked the trip to London for HOT FUZZ and STARDUST. I was contacted by the creative team of THE MUTANT CHRONICLES and invited to drop down to Shepperton Studios to check out the preproduction offices on the film.

First off, I had never even heard of the RPG (Role Playing Game, for the 3 readers who don't speak dork) before this film as announced. I like the idea of a future war against a mutant army in a hardcore sci-fi flick. I really dig the cast. John Malkovich (who I found out will be aged for his role and is only shooting for a few days, so it's by no means a starring role), Ron Perlman, Thomas Jane, Stephen Rea... lots of talent in front of the camera.

After I arrived at Shepperton, I was led down David Lean Ave. (no shit... how cool is that?) and taken to meet the director of MUTANT CHRONICLES, a man by the name of Simon Hunter. I brought up the RPG and he was quick to assure me that I won't need to worry about long diatribes about how this certain kind of armor can take 3 hits from a plus 17 photon pistol wielded by a Mutant Commander or anything remotely like that. In fact, fans of the RPG might be a bit sad to hear that Simon's angle on the film has very little to do with the game. Simon liked the sci-fi war element and wanted to make a hardcore war flick with monsters.

He even went as far as saying he wanted it to be SAVING PRIVATE RYAN meets PITCH BLACK. I like that combo. Movies like THE GUNS OF NAVERONE and THE DIRTY DOZEN were also brought up. Apparently, Thomas Jane's character heads up a team to go behind the Mutant lines and take out something very important, all suicide mission-like. So, it's a sci-fi men on a mission flick. That's also promising.

Apparently, Steve Norrington was developing this flick back in '95 and my understanding is this iteration is just as different from his take as it is from the original card game.

The future world they're planning is very dark and gritty. There is nothing shiny in this world. Think BLADE RUNNER. The idea is all these futuristic flying machines and buildings are all still steam and coal-fueled, so everything has a sort of turn of the century London blackness to it. The war in the film is planned on being very much a throwback to the muddy trench warfare of WW1 as well, an idea I quite like. The uniforms I saw were very much like those used in that era. I love the futuristic sci-fi flicks that feel like time has circled around and we're in a sort of teched-up version of our past. Here's an exclusive piece of art that shows ya' the kind of WW1 warfare and the visual tone they're going for:





I saw a few different designs for the mutants, some more mechanical and cyber-punk-ish melding of machine and men and some more gruesome monsters with very little if any mechanical additions noticeable. I liked the latter and so did the director, apparently, as they had decided on the more mutated human, less robotic, version.

Simon also told me that they're planning on using as many practical effects as they can, including real hand painted glass matte paintings and model work, which is essential if you're doing a film like this on any sort of budget. Nothing can make a sci-fi flick scream "Direct to Video/Cable" like shitty-ass CGI. Even a crappy practical effect has a degree of reality to it and the art of hand-painted mattes, especially if done with any of the old talents that still kick around London's film scene, is just wondrous to see on the silver screen.

So, Simon said all the right things. The preproduction art echoed his words. I hope he can back all this up when it comes time to shoot. I still don't know much about the story, but this seems to be one of those projects that is either going to come out and be really fuckin' cool and hardcore or a miserable failure. I don't see this falling on any sort of middle ground. It's either going to be PITCH BLACK or THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for all the help from Rachel Dargaval, Simon Hunter and David Allcock. It was great meeting you guys and I wish you the best of luck on the film. I'll be keeping tabs on this project as it develops. I'll be back soon with more of my London adventuring including a visit to the sets of STARDUST and my set visit on Edgar Wright's SHAUN OF THE DEAD follow-up, HOT FUZZ. So, keep your eyes on the site squirts! 'Til then this is Quint bidding you all a fond farewell and adieu.

-Quint
quint@aintitcool.com





Readers Talkback
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  • May 21, 2006, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Doesn't sound too bad at all.

    by Sizable Newt

    When's the release set for?

  • May 21, 2006, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Sounds pretty cool...

    by photoboy

    ... is this a "big" picture with a big budget or is it straight to video fare? With that sort of cast I'd assume the former, but it seems like an odd project to get a big budget after Sky Captain flopped.

  • May 21, 2006, 3:38 p.m. CST

    FALLOUT?

    by jaxnnux

    Is this a spinoff of the RPG Fallout? Pearlman was in that.

  • May 21, 2006, 3:44 p.m. CST

    I don't understand...

    by TELF

    Why does everything have to be based on something? I had never heard of the property until they announced the film, and I'm a geek. So it's not like the BO for this thing will be fuelled by a-billion strong fan base. Even if it were, they are radically departing from the source material. So what's the point? I'm all for sci-fi men-on-a-mission movies, but what's the point in attaching an only thematically related and obscure franchise to it. Surely it'll alienate more people than it'll attract... Still, sounds like it could be fun.

  • May 21, 2006, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Well, I'm sold.

    by Shaz_bot80

    Great idea.

  • May 21, 2006, 4:44 p.m. CST

    i thought it was a comic

    by llephen

    wasn't mutant chronicles a comic book, from dark horse or something? and then a sega game?

  • May 21, 2006, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Shadowrun...

    by TELF

    Wow, I'm totally contradicting my previous post, but yeah Shadowrun would be great. Anyone ever play the nintendo game of it? It was really good too.

  • May 21, 2006, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Nosferatu Jones

    by kwisatzhaderach

    I agree, CGI is ruining the movies...would be fascinating to see some old-school techniques employed in this day and age.

  • May 21, 2006, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Riddick was a victim of poor editing.

    by Veraxus

    The script wasn't that great but a really good editor could have fixed the movies most severe problems (awesomely bad one liners mostly). I'm not going to bitch too much, though, since I made a personal-preference cut by ripping the DVD and snipping bits here and there in Avid Xpress. IMO, a little trim here, a little cut there - and Riddick is a much, much, MUCH better film.

  • May 21, 2006, 8:15 p.m. CST

    Has Steven Norrington been blacklisted?

    by chickychow

    after LXG you haven't heard a single thing about this dick. He done for?

  • May 21, 2006, 9:11 p.m. CST

    I actually like this idea.

    by 'Cholera's Ghost

    A futuristic Dirty Dozen would definitely earn my money, if it's good.

  • May 21, 2006, 9:11 p.m. CST

    Norrington blacklisted himself...

    by Be like water

    ...from Hollywood. He worked with Wesley Snipes and Sean Connery, two "master thespians" with enormously inflated egos within the span of five years. And judging by the stories we've heard about both of these characters' diva-like mannerisms and on-set fistfights with various directors, I'm not surprised Norrington got pissed off enough to say "See Ya, HellWood" He did some pre-production concept artwork for Goyer on Blade III, but other than that, yeah, from my understanding he's "quit" anything remotely-Hollywood.

  • May 21, 2006, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Then everyone will get tired of "practical" f/x work

    by Terry_1978

    Then we'll be right back to wanting CG again. I still don't know what makes CGI non-practical as opposed to building a shoddy real life thing. Both require large amounts of work. I'm sure when the car was invented people were saying, "Dude, I am so sick of all this driving...let's go back to walking like we used to."

  • May 21, 2006, 10:33 p.m. CST

    And whenever a director says he wants to go practical

    by Terry_1978

    He immediately loses all credibility with me, as saying they want to use as little CG as possible has become the trendy thing to do in Hollywood.

  • May 21, 2006, 11:06 p.m. CST

    Shadowrun...very hot.

    by Kuj

    Cool game for superNES, terrible for Genesis, cool as all get out if you're into RPG's at all (pen and paper kind, not video game). So many hot ideas. I would definitely see that movie.

  • May 22, 2006, midnight CST

    there's a bunch more from this movie online

    by Mr Brownstone

    here http://www.lwfx.co.uk/mutant%20chronicles.htm right now the bandwidth limit is exceeded but try checkig it out later. lots of conceptual art and a rough animatic.

  • May 22, 2006, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Terry_1978

    by Mr Brownstone

    I can't help but imagine all your posts read aloud in a Stewie Griffin voice.

  • May 22, 2006, 12:17 a.m. CST

    That's meant as a compliment.

    by Mr Brownstone

  • May 22, 2006, 1:25 a.m. CST

    matte paintings...

    by JimmyJoe RedSky

    ...are all done digitally now - theyre still "painted" - but with a wacom and stylus instead of glass panel and brushes - no one does them on glass with real paint anymore - no one - keep in mind that the artists making these can paint for real - you cant paint digitally if you cant paint with a brush - the only thing that looks worse - or more fake - than a bad digital matte painting is a bad traditional matte painting

  • May 22, 2006, 1:48 a.m. CST

    never heard of an RPG???

    by shalashaska

    what the fuck kind of dork are you

  • May 22, 2006, 2 a.m. CST

    "a hardcore war flick with monsters"

    by godoffireinhell

    that gave me a throbbing boner. they better deliver exactly that and not another lame PG-13 piece of garbage.

  • May 22, 2006, 7:37 a.m. CST

    People here though Reign of Fire would be cool

    by Silver_Joo

    Like that was ever a good idea? This will be executed as poorly as that I imagine. Might work as an episode of New Doctor Who but not as a movie. To the guy that likes Shadowrun on the SNES, well done. Great game.

  • May 22, 2006, 7:54 a.m. CST

    CGI

    by Moshi

    I'm getting tired of people complaining about bad CGI. To do so is completely misunderstanding the issue. It's not bad because it's CGI. The quality of an effects shot, good or bad, is down to the artist, or lack of budget/time, not the tools. CGI has become so easy for film makers to envisage virtually anything, that effects shots are now very commonplace. It has opened the gates for film makers to do a lot more than in the past. This ability to be bold is a good thing. However, with so much demand out there, there is going to be a range of talent working in VFX, some very good ( in fact so good that often people don't even realise that they are looking at a CGI effects shot because they assume it's real), some not so good. But remember, not so good effects shots have always been there. Just because it's a man in a rubber suit or a painting on glass doesn't make it any better than a similarly bad digital effect. So please don't keep on with this incesant whining about bad CGI. That show would have looked bad whatever method they used. It's not technoligy driven.

  • May 22, 2006, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Hey, someone mentioned Fallout....

    by DarthBakpao

    it was one of my favorite RPG game... i really hope it would be made into a movie someday

  • May 22, 2006, 8:23 a.m. CST

    speaking of SNES

    by the beef

    Play Doomtrooper for the SNES. That's the game that was made from the card game that is the source material for this movie. It plays like CONTRA (side scrolling shooter) with some blood and guts. It sounds like even if they're departing from the main premise of the game they're at least sticking to the environments that were drawn on the cards when i used to play the game. I really am curious if they're planning on ditching the main characters from the game as well. I honestly don't really care, and i played the game religiously when i was about 12 years old, as long as they make an entertaining sci-fi war flick. The cast alone has sparked interest for me.

  • May 22, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Yeah balls out war movie against freaks sounds cool...

    by brycemonkey

    Although LXG and Van Helsing started out sounding really cool too. That's the problem with the movie process... See 'Get Shorty' for fighting over an idea which then becomes something else anyway... Anyway, enough rambling, more fighting.

  • May 22, 2006, 9:41 a.m. CST

    REIGN OF FIRE fucking WAS cool!!!

    by godoffireinhell

    I have more taste than you in my hemorrhoids.

  • May 22, 2006, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Reign of Fire was cool, just not a great movie.

    by modlight

    And I hope they do all the matte work and old school effects, but remember Mars Attacks was supposed to be a Harryhausen Stop Motion tribute at one point.

  • May 22, 2006, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Why would armies of the future use WW1 tactics?

    by ExcaliburFfolkes

    Do they have nothing but standard guns? No mechanized transport or self-propelled weapons? No generals with ideas beyond infantry charges?

  • May 22, 2006, 1:09 p.m. CST

    "turn of the century London blackness"

    by Doctor_Sin

    I'm not gonna make an easy, cheap race joke at this line. However, I *am* going to go wash the gallons of cum out of my shorts because this just made my day. A steampunk Starship Troopers meets Blade Runner via Alien? I hope to god.

  • May 22, 2006, 1:37 p.m. CST

    <insert "TOO SOON!" here>

    by durhay

    How were the mutants created? Or did they arrive here from another place?

  • May 22, 2006, 1:47 p.m. CST

    No &#39;Southland Tales&#39; reviews?

    by InspectorDoppler

    It&#39;s getting savaged over there...

  • May 22, 2006, 4:45 p.m. CST

    SOUNDS...

    by victor laszlo

    much more like what DOOM should have been.

  • May 22, 2006, 11:22 p.m. CST

    "Why would armies of the future use WW1 tactics?"

    by El_Barstardo

    Not sure about this flick cause he is changing so much, but in the RPG setting technology had regressed due to A.I. no longer being reliable (the demonic &#39;monsters&#39; of the setting were able to manipulate and corrupt it.)

  • May 23, 2006, 1:06 a.m. CST

    another vote for mattes and minatures

    by joeypogi

    it would be nice.

  • May 23, 2006, 3:45 a.m. CST

    everyone making movies like these...

    by JimmyJoe RedSky

    ...is still using mattes and minatures - but not exactly as they were used 30 yrs ago - as someone here earlier pointed out - it seems that its trendy now to bash current fx technology and techniques - the funny thing is - mattes and minatures are still a vital tool that cant be replaced - they never went anywhere - the only difference today is that the mattes are not painted with oil and brush on glass - minatures are still used all the time - and theyre better than ever - the lotr trilogy is full of them - you cant name one fx laden flick made nowadays that doesnt use hand made minatures - people for some reason think the use of any digital tech has less integrity - when dykstra pioneered motion control on star wars he was using computers - i for one do not miss heavy black matte lines around chemically composited images

  • May 23, 2006, 11:16 a.m. CST

    CGI vs Oldschool

    by Mr. Luddite

    All of you fucktards that love to bitch about CGI and lament the glory days of matte paintings and models need to SHUTTHAFUCKUP!!! Moshi and JimmyJoe Redsky made some excellent points. CGI is not inherently evil. ANY VFX technic can be shitty! its all about the talent/vision/budget/ and time involved to make the shots in question. The potential is actually greater with the mixes of digital technology to create incredible visuals for todays films, but if you don&#39;t have the money or the talent even your lamented model work and matte paintings can look like shit. I&#39;m old enough to have lived in a time before digital tech in films and I am also an Sci-Fi artist, I&#39;ve seen tons of movies with horrible matte work and shoddy models. So, for pete&#39;s sake STFU with the CGI bashing!!! most of you probably really don&#39;t even know what the hell you are talking about, you just think its cool to run down CGI and be one of the cool kids.

  • May 23, 2006, 11:19 a.m. CST

    You magnificent El_Bastardo.

    by 'Cholera's Ghost

    Thanks for that explanation. The ability for sufficiently advanced entities to manipulate and corrupt technology strikes me as plausible in a heavily computerized future, and probably one of the few reasons I could buy a "steam and coal power" future, which when I re-read the article was one of my only reservations about this. But if the story follows the comic&#39;s reasons for it, I won&#39;t call it stupid right off the bat.

  • May 23, 2006, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Oops, I meant "rpg&#39;s reasons for it".

    by 'Cholera's Ghost

    Whatever the hell an rpg is. (joke)

  • May 23, 2006, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Riddick kicks ass

    by RezE11even

    Especially the DC. Here&#39;s hoping for a third.

  • May 23, 2006, 4:47 p.m. CST

    worst matte painting i ever seen...

    by JimmyJoe RedSky

    ...was in "a few good men" - a brief shot of a jeep driving toward the base in guantanemo(sp) - i saw it with my brother years ago when it came out - as soon as that shot came up on screen we leaned toward each other and whispered "thats a painting" - so much for "old school mattes being better" - and rob reiner had a budget - it didnt all go to cruise

  • May 15, 2007, 9:26 p.m. CST

    um

    by StrokerX

    FIRST!!! AHAHAHAHAH!!!!

  • May 15, 2007, 9:27 p.m. CST

    WOW!

    by StrokerX

    NOW! you ALL MUST pay attention to me from now on......right? Looking forward to this tho....mutants....world war...but lets see some more art!

  • May 15, 2007, 9:28 p.m. CST

    in case you forgot

    by StrokerX

    That's Stroker with an X boyeeeee

  • May 15, 2007, 9:30 p.m. CST

    um...

    by StrokerX

    am i a retard or what?