Saturday, May 18, 2024
Subscribe Now

Voice Of The Crew - Since 2002

Los Angeles, California

HomeAwardsContender-Ed Verreaux-Prod Design-Monster House

Contender-Ed Verreaux-Prod Design-Monster House


Sci-fi and fantasy are nothing new to production designer Edward Verreaux, whose credits range from the Indiana Jones and Back to the Future trilogies to Contact and The Scorpion King. But few films have been as challenging and different as Verreaux’s work on this year’s X-Men: The Last Stand and Monster House.Verreaux worked briefly on the first X-Men film, but left during a production hiatus, and is glad to have gotten another shot at Marvel’s mutants. “It was actually a nice little kind of finish for me to come back and do three,” he says.The most difficult aspect of the film was the tight schedule, made more difficult by director Matthew Vaughn leaving the film eight weeks before shooting and being replaced by Brett Ratner.Ratner decided to make the Golden Gate Bridge sequence key to the film’s climax instead of the end of the second act, requiring some quick reworking by Verreaux.”I talked to Brett on a Friday and then went back to the office on Saturday and Sunday and basically laid the whole thing out, built a little model and showed him on Monday,” Verreaux says. “And on Tuesday it was ‘Ok, let’s go.’”Verreaux says there are some limitations to working on a sequel where major visual elements have already been established. “You read a script and you’re getting images in your head and you’re starting to discover what could this look like,” he says. “When there are certain characteristics that are already there, it’s not as challenging in that sense. But I also have to respect the franchise and respect the fact that these are elements—like the X-Mansion and the underground—that are as much a part of the story as the actual characters.”But there’s plenty of areas for fun, too, like looking at the original comic book stories and finding a way to make the Danger Room training sequence work. “Really, what I’m trying to do is give it some sort of visual anchor in a way so that it feels that it’s within the world of X-Men,” he says. The animated Monster House also was a kind of homecoming for Verreaux, who began his career as an assistant to cartoon legend Chuck Jones in the 1970s.”What was really fun about Monster House, was literally starting from scratch pretty much and just make it up and say what’s the tone of this neighborhood, what do these houses look like,” he says.Monster House used motion capture technology to record the physical performances of the actors as the basis for the animation. The process required Verreaux and his crew to plan every detail of the film. “It’s all figured out in advance with the directors, with the producers, because it has to be,” he says.In some ways, the task was similar to working on a live-action film. “We had to do all the designs and we did all the drawings as if we were handing the drawings off to a real construction crew, but instead we were giving the digital files to the people at Sony Imageworks and they were literally building these objects and these environments digitally.”With hundreds of animation and visual effects artists working on the film, it can be difficult at times to maintain the continuity and integrity of the work. But Verreaux, now working again with Ratner on Rush Hour 3, credits director Gil Kenan and visual effects supervisor Jay Redd with ensuring quality through the process. “Those guys at Sony did a really fantastic job and I was very pleased with the final product.”

Written by Tom McLean

Previous article
Next article
- Advertisment -


SISU Cinema Robotics Announces SISU Battery Box for Robotic Camera Equipment

SISU Cinema Robotics has been transforming the landscape of robotic camera equipment by introducing user-friendly cinema technology designed to keep pace with the demands...

Beowulf and 3-D