Thursday, January 29, 2004

Mos Def will play Ford and Zooey Deschanel will be Trillian

Now, the casting thing gets closer to reality even if we're still waiting for an official anouncement. We now know who are in the run to play Ford and Trillian. This information, while not official, has been published on Hollywood reporter's website, and i know from the production, that the article gets it right.

The two newcomers are some talented young actors, even if not very well known, Mos Def who would play Ford and Zooey Deschanel who would play Trillian.

Mos Def is a 30 years old black american actor. He previously played in The Italian Job (2003) and Showtime (2002). He will play too in Confederancy of Dunces which is in pre production. He is also a very talented New York City underground hip-hop artist and has played with many great hip hop musicians like The Roots, De La Soul, A... He even released a full lenght debut album "black on both sides" (1999).

Zooey Dechanel is 24 years old. Her parents and her sister are too in the movie industry. She had the leading female role in Elf (2003). She also played in Almost Famous (2002). And like Mos, she is also playing music but not quite the same one. Indeed she plays ukulele for the band If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies! Her odd name comes from a JD Salinger's novel "Franny and Zooey" who was... the male part in the novel!

This names, along with Martin Freeman, confirm us that the production want to bet on mainly new names. A choice which is in the harmony with the first choice of the young director-productor team Hammer & Tongs to make the movie. In my point of view, these are all great choice, and much more interesting than to get a 100 million dollar movie with stars and a banal Hollywood director.
I also appreciate the choice of a black american actor to play Ford part. A perfect Hollywood cliché would have been to give Zaphod's part to the black actor, because it's the funiest.

Rumour has spread too that the more well known Robert Downey Jr (Ally Mc Beal,..) had an offer for Zaphod. But the deal was not made, and nobody seems sure of the reason.

Variety also anounced that the production will start the 19th april in London, which is also great news because h2g2 goes back home.

Here is Zooey :

And here is Mos :

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Jim Henson's creature shop is going to design the Vogons too

've learnt today, according to executive producer Robbie Stamp, that Jim Henson's Creature shop, is working on Vogons' design too. Let's remember that they are also in charge of Marvin's design.
That's great news because Jim Henson's creature shop is a huge thing well known for their talent. John Stephenson, creative Supervisor and Executive Vice President, "has been the creative head of Jim Henson's Creature Shop since its beginning. Hired by Jim Henson in 1984, he has supervised countless projects and has been instrumental in building its reputation as one of the most respected and internationally renowned special and visual effects houses in the world. His devotion to research in both animatronics and computer animation has resulted in the success of many films such as 101 Dalmatians, Babe, Lost in Space and Animal Farm- which he also directed. In 2000, John was awarded an O.B.E. for his contribution to the British film industry."

And let's remember that the original ideas come from Hammer & Tongs, and that we can hope something great for the Vogons. In the interview we made last october, Robbie Stamp told me that "the basic idea (from H&T) for the design of the Vogons was so clever and such a great imaginative leap. As soon as I saw some of the early conceptual drawings I just knew this was in safe hands. They have that creative drive and energy which is making the steak sizzle!"

Jim Henson's creature shop website

Monday, January 26, 2004

Quick interview with Shynola

I got a quick interview with Christopher Harding from the Shynola collective who told me that they are "fully signed up and working on the film now". As you know, the team is working since last november on guide entries graphics. Christopher didnt want to say too much because they are quite at the begining of the creative process, so he didnt exactly replied to all my questions. But he was kind enough to give me some replies anyway so here they are :

NB : Shynola is a young british animation collective but you have already made some award winning videos for rock groups. How do you explain this success? Shynola being a collective, how do you work together?

CH : I don't know really how we came to be successful. I guess we were just doing something different to the majority of music videos. As to how we work together, I could take all day and still not really explain it. Broadly speaking, we share ideas and inspire each other to work hard and hopefully the whole ends up more than the sum of it's parts.

NB : When did you all first discover Douglas' work?

CH : I was too young to appreciate the radio series of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when it first aired, so my first exposure to his work was the BBC television series.

NB : I reckon you knew Hammer & Thongs before working on the h2g2 movie. Were you surprised when they were signed for the movie?

CH : Yes, we've known Hammer and Tongs for some time. Strangley, it didn't seem too surprising that they were making the film. It just seemed natural, Garth is a very creative director and once I thought about it, the project seemed tailor made for him.

NB : How much work have you already done and have still to do?

CH : We've really only just begun, we have many months ahead of us.... Sorry I probably haven't said as much as you'd like to hear, but it all adds to the excitement, doesn't it?!

Here is Shynola website : CLICK HERE

Friday, January 23, 2004

Nick Goldsmith's blog and Marvin prototype video back online !

Ian, who found Nick Goldsmith's blog in the first place, put Marvin's video and Nick's blog on the net for our pleasure.

To see the video go there : on Ian's Website

And here is the unabridged text from Nick's blog :

" Mon - October 13, 2003 Marvin walks! Warwick Davis came into Hensons today to try out the first Marvin prototype suit! Posted at 11:59 PM
Wed - October 8, 2003 BOWLING! To celebrate the green light, we took everyone involved so far on a nights bowling. Posted at 04:06 PM
Mon - October 6, 2003 Book launch of the official Douglas Adams Biography Today we got to meet the whole family! Posted at 04:04 PM
Thu - October 2, 2003 First script read through Armed with our high tec recording set up and 5 very talented actors, we did our first entire read through of the current draft. Posted at 03:50 PM
Wed - October 1, 2003 Marvin comes to life! We just had a very productive meeting with the team at Hensons, going over pretty much everything. They have been very busy whilst we were in Los Angeles, and have just finished the first sculpt of Marvin, and are working on Jeltz and Kwaltz as we speak. Posted at 09:37 PM
Thu - September 25, 2003 Green light! Today The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was finally given the official green light! Posted at 09:36 PM
Wed - September 17, 2003 Meeting with Nina Jacobson. Today we presented all the visual work and storyboards to Nina Jacobson and Jason Reed at Disney. Posted at 10:16 PM
Tue - September 16, 2003 Garth & Nick fly to Los Angeles. Whoo Hooo. Posted at 10:15 PM
Tue - September 9, 2003 Meeting with Gary & Roger. Today we showed Gary and Roger the storyboards. Posted at 10:14 PM
Sat - May 24, 2003 Presentation of concept visuals. Back to the Disney UK video conference room, for a full presentation of concept visuals. Posted at 10:12 PM
Sat - May 17, 2003 Variety announce Tongs attached to Hitchhikers Guide. Everything starts to become a bit more of a reality. Posted at 10:10 PM
Thu - May 8, 2003 Script development in London. Karey Kirkpatrick and Derek Evans come over to the boat for a weeks work on the script. Posted at 10:05 PM
Sun - May 4, 2003 Zaphod head test. Just shot our first Zaphod test with Jon Hollis. Posted at 10:08 PM
Tue - April 8, 2003 First video conference with Disney. So armed with a fantastic "Don't Panic" curtain, as provided by Mark Mason and Asylum, we arrived at Disney UK for our first video presentation. We had put together a visual presentation of storyboards, initial designs and references. Posted at 10:03 PM
Fri - March 21, 2003 First conference call with Spyglass. Today we had our first conference call with Spyglass. Robbie Stamp came by the boat, and we introduced ourselves to Roger, Gary, Jon and Derek at Spyglass. Little did we know it was the beginning of what was going to become something really special. Posted at 09:59 PM "

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Arthur and Slartibartfast have been cast

WARNING : before going further, i should say that no deals have been signed yet for the casting. Even in Stephen Moore (Marvin) case. But these are strong possibilities and official wishes.

BBCi films page got the scoop : we now know who will certainly play Arthur And Slartibarfast parts. In an interview with BBCi, the british actor Bill Nighy (recently seen in "Love Actualy") said he will play our old planet designer, Slartbibartfast.

"I'm a big fan of the book and the people who are making it are very cool people and I think they're going to do a good job," says Nighy. "It's a really good script. It's really, really faithful to the book. All the jokes are there and they're big fat jokes. It's wonderful. And with all the technology we have now, it can not only be a big satisfying comedy but I figure it could be quite exciting as well."

BBCi films also reveal that an other british actor Martin Freeman (from the acclaimed BBC series "The office" and who also stared in "Love Actually"!) will play Arthur.

These are great news because these two actors are really excellents even if not terribly well known outside Great Britain.

But the BBCi article could also kill anyone with a weak heart : "Nighy also states that a director isn't set yet, although hotshot music vid team Hammer & Tongs (aka writer-director Garth Jennings and producer Nick Goldsmith) were on board last High Noon heard". And well i can assure you they are still on board !!

MJ Simpson, Douglas' biographer and number one international fan, wrote on his website that "The roles of Zaphod, Trillian and Ford have also been cast but have not yet officially been announced".
So the future could even get soon brighter.

You can get informations about Martin Freeman on his excellent and up to date official website which has been created and is maitained by one of his brother : Jamie who is also a diehard h2g2 fan as you can see with his reaction to the anouncement of his brother being involved in the movie ! Check here !

Sunday, January 4, 2004

Susie Figgis is the casting director and Hugh Laurie wont be Arthur

Mj Simpson revealed on his website that Susie Figgis that "the important job of finding potential actors for the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy movie is in the safe hands of Susie Figgis, one of the most experienced and highly respected casting directos in the UK". Her filmography as a casting director is indeed impressive. She worked on many, many succes movies as "Sleepy hollow" (99), "The full Monty" (1997), "Interview with a vampire" (94), Cry Freedom (87), "The Mission" (86) "Gandhi" (82) or "Killing fields" (84)... She also worked with many great directors as her brother Mike Figgis (for the excellent Time Code), Ken Loach (Hidden Agenda, Land of Freedom), Steven Soderbergh (Kafka)...
She also worked as a casting director for "Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone", but she left because she was unhappy with her relationship with US director Chris Colombus, and they disagreed about the choice of the actor for Harry's part. But she did a huge work, being swamped with 40.000 applications!
So i think we can be confident in her casting choices. And with Hammer & Tongs at the direction/production, and with the help of executive producer and douglas friend' Robbie Stamp, just think of all the marvelous things that can be done with the casting thing! We all know that the casting choices will be vital in the success of the movie, as they have been for the original radio series.


Robbie Stamp has also given an other clue regarding the casting. After telling me that Stephen Moore (the only real Marvin) will once again incarnate the maniaco depressive robot, he told my friend Jenz (owner of the website) that, regarding Arthur role, "Hugh Laurie has not really been in the running this time. I think the feeling is that he is just a little too old now – if there was to be a sequel he would be nearly 50 – just too old for Arthur I suspect.” British actor Hugh Laurie was Douglas' favourite choice, but as the original Arthur, Simon Jones, is now regarded as too old. An other famous name for Arthur part, is Hugh Grant. But is he not too old too? One thing is sure : we've been several times promised that Arthur will be english.