SOME OUTLANDER DESIGN THOUGHTS

Responding to one of the comments: “I do know that back in… 2000? The film was over with Kirschner Productions. I talked with a couple of the concept artists that worked on that particular proposal but it’s been so long that they didn’t have a lot to say. One remembered reading the script and had a few anecdotes about his own involvment, whereas the other remembered vaguely working on Moorwen concepts. I’ve been curious about that particular effort to mount the production since and whether or not any of this art survives? Were they not happy with Patrick Tatopolous’ creature design? Or were they just getting alternate takes on the concept?”

I can try to dig up some of the early art. In fact, I do have some posted on the MySpace page. There’s a beautiful sepia by patrick plus some very cool early Viking and village designs. Patrick had a very distinct view of the Vikings, that they should kind of be like the Hell’s Angels of the day, which you can see. We also stole (as in, we asked Patrick to do it, he didn’t steal it) a design element from a movie called With Fire and Sword, where a character has a knife actually sheathed in his skin. Didn’t make it into the movie, though.

Anyway, while the movie was with David (Kirschner) we felt like we needed to get some good art to help sell the project. We tried a few guys out but their creature designs just didn’t cut it. (No big surprise – it’s goddamn hard to design a creature.) So then we went for a big gun, Patrick. He designed Stargate, Godzilla, Dark City. Really good stuff. He came up with the Moorwen as he is now, which is terrific, and which everyone loved. A fun note on something I can’t claim a part of. In the script, the Moorwen wasn’t clearly seen for about 80 pages or so. We wanted to make it like the shark in Jaws. However, it’s really hard to do that without making it seem like a cheat. So Howard was talking with a friend of ours, Joe Bauer, who’s a visual effects supervisor (Get Smart) and trying to figure out how to show the monster’s presence without giving him away. So, taking a cue from these hyper-wierd deep-sea fish that are bioluminescent, they came up with the idea that the Moorwen produced different color lights depending on its ‘mood’. That way the audience could see wierd lights and know something was up, but not see enough of the monster to give him away too soon.

A final word on Patrick – he’s a tremendously nice guy, so nice that you can forgive him for being a world-class artist and great-looking French guy. And a daredevil motorcyclist. Oh yeah – and he just started his directing career with Underworld 3, which Howard and I rewrote for him just before the writer’s strike. A great guy to work with/for.

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3 Responses to “SOME OUTLANDER DESIGN THOUGHTS”

  1. Thanks for the input Dirk. I really like the Moorwen design too. It seems… elegant. I think I might have the sepia Moorwen concept though. It would be interesting to see some of the other designs for the Moorwen though. (Side point: Can I reproduce your myspace photos in my Solsector galleries? Maybe I should ask by email…)

    Wow, that’s cool that you guys worked on the Underworld 3 script. My wife and I both enjoy the first two films (myself the first more than the second though). Plus, at least with the extended cut, is has both Patrick’s work *and* Sophia Myles. I was a little hesitant about the U3 project because of it being more or less a prequel, but with you guy’s giving it a rewrite I’ll definitely have to check it out.

    It will be interesting to see what Patrick can do as director. I believe he did some ‘second unit’ on ‘live free or die hard’ didn’t he? Or am I confusing myself. He has an interesting visionary eye as far as design goes so it will be interesting to see how that translates to the director’s chair, though to some degree a director is only as good as the talent under him. His DP was second unit DP on the Matrix movie’s so I guess we’ll see how much of that he absorbed. On the other hand Phil Tippet’s directorial debut was… what I expected from a movie where the effects guy get’s to run wild.

    Out of curiosity, what’s the status of your ‘Amazon’ script? The original articles are somewhat vague saying you and Howard were hired to write the script… and then not much other than that. IMDB seems to suggest there are other writers involved. Hope this isn’t too touchy a subject.
    Any other scripts in the pipe?

    Take care,

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  2. Oh, I should add that I have *most* of the pre-production promo reel you guys made for OUTLANDER. It’s kind of low quality encoding though and at least one section is missing (Or at least I think it is).

    The reel has Barrie Osborne, Iain McCaig, and Dan Hennah talking about the film. It’s set to music (curious which music it is actually) and is overlaid with all kinds of great concept art. There’s a few animatics in the piece too. I’m hesitant to actually put it online until after the film is out becaue of spoilers, but I’m also curious which part is actually missing. My guess is that it might have to do with the New Zealand location scouting but I don’t know really. But, there’s some really great comments from the three about why an audience should be interested in the project.

    The blank portion – which possibly is very brief – starts shortly after a discussion of Wyglif (Wulfric) and imediately after a shot of the Moorwen’s Lair concept art. The video comes back part way into a brief shot of Howard working with the Village model.

  3. Thanks for the nightmares! Keep ’em coming! 🙂

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