VFX update

Posted on Nov 18, 1999

It’s been a while since I posted something significant. I’ve moved from Massachussetts to California, and I’m in the process of getting settled. Well, one of the dilemas in bringing Tennessee to the screen will be getting all the visual effects done in time for its Christmas 2000 release. Got this from the Hollywood Reporter:

Visual effects have become a hot spot in the ongoing battle to get Michael Bay’s World War II epic “Tennessee” green-lighted. The sizable effects job — easily 300 shots, insiders say — was originally to have gone to Dream Quest Images, which made sense because Disney, the studio producing “Tennessee,” owns Dream Quest, and two of the company’s top effects supervisors — Richard Hoover and Hoyt Yeatman — have long-established relationships with Bay, with whom they worked on “Armageddon” and “The Rock.”

Because of the high volume of work and fairly tight turnaround, it was decided the work would be split between two shops, and Industrial Light & Magic entered the mix. However, in an effort to lower production costs, it was decided that it would be more efficient to have one shop do the work. “It’s always more expensive to work with multiple facilities, because you’re carrying the overhead for both in your budget,” a source on the production said.

At one point, ILM reportedly had the job locked up. The San Francisco-based firm did spectacular World War II work for “Saving Private Ryan” and has a battalion of Oscars, all of which appealed to Bay, who is intent on making “Tennessee” a “prestige” production.

But an eleventh-hour rally by the artists formerly known as Dream Quest, recently rechristened by Disney as the Secret Lab, has put the dark horse back in the running. “They’re just not giving up,” said an insider at Jerry Bruckheimer Films, which is posting “Gone in 60 Seconds” with Secret Lab and has done five other films with DQI. “They sent over a new reel, which absolutely floored us.” On the other hand, “ILM really wants the job,” one insider said. “Michael is a filmmaker they believe in.”

It remains to be seen how much Disney believes in him. Despite the combined track records of Bay and Bruckheimer, there is considerable nail-biting over “Tennesse’s” big budget and whether it will set sail.

One thing is certain. If “Tennessee” does get made, it will be shot at Fox Baja Studios, with whom the producers are negotiating. “For a film like this, you wouldn’t want to shoot anywhere else,” the production source said of the state-of-the-art facility, which boasts the premier tanks for water work. A Secret Lab spokeswoman said the process is ongoing, and it is too premature to comment. ILM declined to comment on the status of its bid.