Thursday, December 27, 2007
the name of the rose
This is the story of a scene that may have puzzled quite a few people watching the movie-
two rotating roses on a palace background, a few feet long and seemingly without any context or purpose.
Planned as the first glimpse of the Princess, or rather, her hands, this is a POV shot and would have had added animation of her hands holding the stalks, then cut to Yum Yum arranging the roses in a vase.
The roses were animated by Margaret Grieve, our resident plant animator.I think it is fair to say that Dick indulged in a bit of type casting. Margaret is an avid gardener and, as the name might suggest, female and therefore deemed to be good at things like flowers and all things pretty. There are plenty of other examples of this kind of casting, i.e. Dietmar, a tall, big German became the expert on War machine contraptions and soldiers..Michael, another fellow German with a very analytical mind, an amazing ability to solve technical problems ( and none to explain it without giving you the history of the Guttenberg press and how to assemble same out of matchboxes) , was tasked with animating complicated helicopter shots of rushing landscape.
How I ended up with the ultra camp courtiers is anyone’s guess..
But I digress, back to the roses. So Margaret animated the roses, keeping track of every individual petal, and having in-betweened quite a few, that wasn’t an easy task. That took a few weeks. Then the scene went to render artist extra –ordinaire Dee Morgan, who painstakingly hand rendered each frame onto frosted cels. She the Render- Man!
After a few months of combined effort, the scene was ready for Dick to add Yum Yum’s hands… or so we thought.
At that time, renowned playwright John Patrick Shanley came aboard to write a new version of the script. And, if I recall correctly, that included lyrics for a song yet to be composed.( I somehow seem to recall that Mo was involved in these lyrics too) .
And these lyrics spoke of two roses, one like the sun, and one like a star- filled night. Geeky as I am, I hand-copied the lyrics for future reference.
So Dick decided that the scene would go back to Dee , so she could re- render the blue rose and add stars. Which took another few weeks, by which time , Shanley had left the picture and so did the song.
If anyone has any questions about why this movie remained unfinished , this story may give you a clue.