Shock Till You Drop visited Three Mill Studios in London to see how production is coming on the upcoming Tim Burton stop-motion film, Frankenweenie. Click the photos for high-resolution versions.
"Tim always wanted to make it into a feature and into an animated feature," explains producer Allison Abbate, "We had to open the story up a little bit. Pretty much, the whole first act is like the short. We meet Victor and his beloved dog, Sparky. There's a terrible car accident tragedy and the dog gets killed. Of course Victor, being a clever guy, figures out how to reincarnate him. Where the story diverges is that Victor is now desperate to keep his dog a secret. He doesn't really know if what he's done is a great thing. He doesn't tell his parents and he doesn't tell his school friends... Of course, the other kids at school get wind of it and kind of want in."
Art director Tim Browning also spoke with Shock Till You Drop to discuss the creation of many of the sets in the film, which are located in Victor’s hometown of New Holland, California.
"[Our setting] is a California suburb sometime between 1965 and 1975," says Browning. "There's no real specific date but, from a design point of view, you approach it much the same as any other period drama. You do the research and try to find all the details of the architecture. Of course, on a project like this we have the luxury of making everything and having complete control. In live action, you have to rely very heavily on locations, purchased props and hired props. Here, you make every single thing."
Browning also discussed the lead canine character.
"He's one of the principal characters," explains Browning, "and in real life he would be sort of bull terrier sized. He needs to be manageable... Our adult puppets are about 50 cm high whereas on 'Corpse Bride' they were more like 25 to 30."
The other aspect of the sets that's instantly striking is that they merge color and black and white. Though the film is being shot for the latter, some elements of puppet-making are simply easier to come by in color and others are designed to make use of the contrast.
"Back in the old days, set painting was geared towards black and white photography," continues Browning, "and it became a whole new challenge when color came in. We're re-creating techniques from the '40s and '50s that this film is homaging."
You can learn more about the film at the original link. But watch out for a few SPOILERS.
Frankenweenie will be released in theaters on October 5th, 2012.