Bruckheimer, Yeatman and Engle on G-Force


This summer, you can see Jerry Bruckheimer’s action-packed thrills in Disney’s latest adventure flick G-Force, but get ready to experience something from the prolific producer that you have never seen from him before. He’s bringing his first 3-D film to the big screen and he couldn’t be more excited about it.

“We’ve created some things I don’t think you’ve ever seen. I think there is more 3-D in this movie than in any other movie ever made so far,” he told at a presentation for the July 24 release.

The PG rated comedy tells the story of a group of highly-skilled guinea pigs trained in espionage to help the U.S. government take down a billionaire who is trying to take over the world. The all-star cast includes Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Penelope Cruz, Steve Buscemi and Tracy Morgan.

Two-time Oscar winning visual effects specialist Hoyt Yeatman directed the film and it was actually his five-year-old son who came up with the concept. Yeatman was surprised to learn in his research of the storyline that some of the things the characters do in the film actually happen today in real life.

“If you were to Google squirrels in Iran you’ll find that about two years ago, 14 squirrels were found having gone into the Iranian Embassy equipped with video and audio surveillance equipment,” Yeatman said. If you look back through history, you’ll find animals and insects have pretty much been a part of intelligence systems as well as even in the U.S. governmentÂ… From that, we began to create our main character Darwin.”

After we listened to him talk about the film along with Bruckheimer and 3D Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Engle, the floor was open for questions.

Q: What was your son’s reaction when you told him his idea was going to be made into a movie?

Hoyt Yeatman: I don’t think he really understood. He was about five and now he’s 11. I purposely only showed him a little bit [of the movie] because I want him to see the final piece. He’s really excited. He did a couple of the voices so he got to go to Disney to record. Just to go through that part of it is really fun.

Q: Since this is a 3-D movie how will that work for the DVD?

Rob Engle: I would argue that there are actually conceptually three releases of this movie. There’s the traditional 2-D release. The other two releases are the left and right eye of the 3-D release. We could take the 3-D version of the film and put it in IMAX. It’s one of those things we did at Imageworks in 2007 with “Beowulf.” We produced a 3-D version that was for released for digital projection for small scale theaters as well as IMAX theaters. I think it was the first time they had done that.

Q: Who does G-Force actually go up against? Is there a bad guy animal team that we don’t know about?

Yeatman: The bad guy in the movie is the prestige savor who is like a Bill Gates. He is a gentleman who was in [the] military construction and now is the leading appliance king of the world – washer and dryers and toasters. Things like that. The FBI is concerned that he’s up to no good. He used to make military ships and they’ve realized he’s doing something with a mysterious character in the far east. The G-Force members go in to prove their ability as covert spies and then uncover a plan that’s actually brewing which is to take over the world.

Q: Were there ever talks to do a bad guy version of this team?

Yeatman: Not really, no. I pretty much felt that it was better dramatically to come and have the guinea pigs deal with saving the world. To me, it was more about how is a 9-inch character going to do that when he’s faced with giant robots and big appliances. And just the fact that he’s being chased by FBI agents. It’s really guinea pigs saving the world.

Q: Jerry, can you talk about how this project came to you and what was it about this story that you thought would make a great film?

Jerry Bruckheimer: Hoyt brought me the project. He came to the office and explained the story about his son. He had all these drawings of what the characters would look like. I thought it was something unique and fresh and fun that could reach out to a younger audience which is something I haven’t done before. We like to change it up from time to time.

Q: You originally starting shooting this movie in 2-D and then half way through decided to do 3-D. Is there anything that gets lost during that conversion?

Yeatman: The studio and Jerry from the very beginning wanted to do it in 3-D. We did tests and it was only after having done them that (it was) just technically not possible. We just couldn’t do it. I thought about it, the problem. I wanted to do it, but I just couldn’t figure it out. So as we starting shooting I realized there were ways that we could… But to answer your question about to feeling if we’ve lost something – I think the answer is no… To me the technology needs to shift. We’ve seen a lot of animated full length rendered CG characters now. We’ve seen very few live-action 3-D movies and the reason is it’s almost impossible to shoot them very easily and make a good 3-D movie that way. There needs to be a quantum leap in the technology.

Q: Do you think 3-D will ever be possible for people to enjoy at home?

Engle: 3-D in the home is actually already possible to some extent. There are steps that are out there. What’s missing right now are standards in delivering 3-D to the home. There’s a lot of interest in the consumer electronics area and Blu-ray for example – all these people are looking to see how to bring quality 3-D experience–not the red/blue, but a real quality 3-D experience–into the home. It’s only a matter of time. I imagine in three years you’ll see it. Maybe less.