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the Star Wars Saga

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Darth Maul
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« on: July 22, 2007, 04:17:11 pm »

Production

George Lucas began writing the new Star Wars trilogy on November 1, 1994.[1] The screenplay for The Phantom Menace was adapted from Lucas' 15-page outline that was written in 1976. The early outline was originally designed to help Lucas track the character backstories and what events had taken place before the original trilogy.[1] While the working title for the film was The Beginning,[1] Lucas later revealed the true title to be The Phantom Menace; a title which, in contrast to the more self-explanatory titles of the other films, is ambiguous.

Within three to four months of Lucas beginning the writing process, Doug Chiang and his design team started a two-year process of reviewing thousands of designs for the film.[2] Stunt coordinator Nick Gillard was recruited to create a new Jedi fighting style for the new trilogy. Gillard referred to the lightsaber battles as akin to a chess game "with every move being a check." Because of their short-range weapons, Gillard theorized that the Jedi would have had to develop a fighting style that merged every swordfighting style, such as kendo and other kenjutsu styles, with other swinging techniques, such as tennis swings and tree-chopping. While training Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor, Gillard would write a sequence to be an estimated 60 seconds in length, meant to be among five to six sequences per fight.[3] Lucas later referred to Jedi as being "negotiators", rather than high-casualty soldiers. The preference of hand-to-hand combat was implemented to give a more spiritual and intellectual role to the Jedi.[3]

Filming began on June 26, 1997 and ended on September 30 of that year, primarily taking place at Leavesden Studios in England, with additional location shooting in the Tunisian desert for the Tatooine scenes and the Italian Caserta Palace for the Theed City Naboo Palace interior.[4] The city of Mos Espa was built in the desert outside Tozeur. On the night following the third day of shooting in Tozeur, an unexpected sandstorm destroyed many sets and props. With a quick rescheduling to allow for repairs, production was able to leave Tunisia on the exact day originally planned.[5]

Nine R2-D2 models were created; seven could run in the sand or on the stage, one was for Kenny Baker to be dropped into, and one was a "pneumatic" R2 that was able to shift from two to three legs. During filming in Tunisia and on sets to replicate the environment, the standard model was prone to skidding off in strange directions and having its motors lock up from the sand. Having confronted similar problems before, Lucas allowed two companies, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and the production's British special effects department, to create their own versions of the perfect R2-D2. The finished product needed to navigate deep sand, light sand and door jambs. ILM's R2-D2 featured two wheelchair motors capable of pushing 440 pounds (198 kilograms) of weight. The British effects company produced a new foot and motor drive system, allowing R2 to drive over sand. The ILM version was primarily used on stage sets, whereas the British version was used in Tunisia.[6]

Up until the production of The Phantom Menace, many special effects in the film industry were achieved by the use of miniature models, matte paintings, and on-set visual effects, although other films had made extensive use of computer-generated imagery (CGI). Visual effects supervisor John Knoll previewed 3,500 storyboards for the film, with Lucas accompanying him to explain what factors of the shots would be practical and what would be created through visual effects. Knoll later recounted that on hearing the explanations of the storyboards, he was unaware of any way to accomplish what he had seen. The result was to mix original techniques with the newest digital techniques to make it difficult for the viewer to guess which technique was being used. New computer software was written by Knoll and his visual effects team to create certain shots in the film. Another goal was to create computer-generated characters that could act seamlessly with live-action actors. While filming scenes with CGI characters, Lucas would block the characters using their corresponding voice actor on-set. The voice actors were then removed and the live-action actors would perform the same scene alone. A CGI character would later be added into the shot, completing the conversation.

The budget of The Phantom Menace was US$115 million, which, after adjusting for inflation, makes it the most expensive film in the prequel trilogy. Whereas the other two films in the trilogy were shot on digital video, all but two scenes of this film were shot on 35 mm film
« Last Edit: July 22, 2007, 04:35:42 pm by Darth Maul » Report Spam   Logged


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