: Jude Law, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee, Emily Mortimer Director
: Martin Scorsese Genre
: Adventure, Drama, Family Rated
: PGRunning Time
: 126 minutes Synopsis
: Hugo tells the story of an orphan boy living a secret life in the walls of a Paris train station. With the help of an eccentric girl, he searches for the answer to a mystery linking the father he recently lost, the ill-tempered toy shop owner living below him and a heart shaped lock, seemingly without a key. Based on Brian Selznick's award winning and imaginative New York Times bestseller, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, this magical tale is Academy Award winner Martin Scorsese's first film shot in 3D. Release Date
: January 12th, 2012 Website
: www.hugomovie.com.au Martin Scorsese & Jude Law Hugo Part 1 - www.femail.com.au/martin-scorsese-hugo.htm
'It's a Puzzle - When You Put It Together, Something's Going to Happen': Filming Hugo's World in 3D
Martin Scorsese is not shy about professing his affection for 3D filmmaking, having spent his formative years attending the cinema at the same time that 3D was being utilised for films across every genre. He says, "It was 1953, and the first one I saw was 'House of Wax,' directed by André de Toth-it's probably the best 3D film ever made."
It was, however, a film released the following year that Martin Scorsese cites as having a truly lasting effect on the argument for a 'smart use' of 3D in service to the story. He offers, "Alfred Hitchcock's use of 3D in 'Dial M for Murder' was really intelligent. Rather than as an effect, it deals with the story, and it utilises space as an element in the narrative. What I discovered working in 3D is that it enhances the actor, like watching a sculpture that moves. It's no longer flat. With the right performances and the right moves, it becomes a mixture of theater and film, but different from both. That is something that has always been exciting to me...I've always dreamed about doing a film in 3D."
As part of a primer in 3D filmmaking, crew members were shown both "House of Wax" and "Dial M for Murder." For Martin Scorsese's cinematographer, Robert Richardson, it was also the first time working in the format. Per the director/producer: "Robert Richardson's a wonderful artist, and he had never done 3D, so we were always pushing each other. We wanted to try it, and so we were both discovering more about it as we went along.
"Probably the first images I saw in my head when I began working on 'Hugo,'" continues Martin Scorsese, "were images of Hugo running and looking over his shoulder, and there was this longing in his eyes. Faces are given a special intimacy with 3D. We see people in a different way. They are closer to us. I felt that 3D would help create a stronger bond between the audience and the characters."
Robert Richardson states, "'Hugo' provided an unparalleled challenge. My hope was to evoke the romance of Paris in the 1930's and yet not divorce the present. French cinema has always had a special place in my heart and with the vast potential of 3D, I hoped to sample the magic with which Melies created his body of work."
To help with the challenges of filming in an added dimension, 3D stereographer Demetri Portelli was hired. During shooting, he could always be found working from a special monitor, using a remote control to adjust each camera's 'eye' on the 3D rig. Demetri Portelli elaborates, "3D enhances the viewing experience. It creates a physical world closer to reality than ever before, intensifying the audience's involvement in the story."
For the scene where Hugo and Isabelle venture to the library, location filming took place at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève. Robert Richardson had prepared lighting cranes outside the windows to simulate sunshine, but when it was time to film, the sun came cascading into the voluminous library, one window at a time. Demetri Portelli describes, "Some atmosphere was added with a white smoke, so we could define the rays of light. On my 3D screen, they looked like solid beams of platinum. In my experience this can only be achieved by shooting in 3D. Filming native 3D-capturing 3D on set with a motorised rig-I can move each camera's lens around an object from two different positions, like the eyes in your head 'see' from different angles. This process enables us to build objects with volume and gives all the images in the film a wonderful physical tangibility."
The air of the train station received similar treatment-to give viewers the impression of the age and feel of the place. 'Dust' was created from tiny bits of goose down, and dry ice 'smoke' was also added.
"Hugo" was also the 3D maiden voyage of the film's editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, who felt the format a rich addition to the project. She says, "Martin Scorsese's and Robert Richardson's use of 3D in 'Hugo' seems to embrace the actors. It has a powerful effect on the emotion in the film."
But "Hugo" is about more than an adventurous boy on a hopeful mission-it is also about the discovery and reaffirmation of a true artist of early cinema. In flashback, audiences are shown the entire arc of Méliès' career... from magician to filmmaker and then, shopkeeper. Scenes of him actually filming are key. As he is credited with more than 500 films, Martin Scorsese faced the challenge of winnowing down such a lengthy list of movie titles to just a handful. Finally, he chose the one for the full 'behind-the-scenes' treatment-his 1903 "Kingdom of the Fairies." Per Martin Scorsese: "I wanted to show three or four scenes from it, but actually I wound up with one that takes place under the sea. We thought that would be interesting to show how he accomplished his underwater sequences-how simple it is, and how charming."
Méliès' original glass studio was rebuilt on the backlot of Shepperton Studios in England, constructed from existing designs, measurements and photos of the original building. Cinémathèque Française provided Méliès' diagram for filming 'underwater'- Martin Scorsese's team could re-create the placement of the fish tank and the camera in order to reproduce Méliès' effect.
Visual effects supervisor Rob Legato was charged with figuring out how to achieve the litany of filmic effects Méliès first created using only the available tools and techniques of the time. Rob Legato offers, "This was a magic project, having the opportunity to go back to the very beginnings of the film business with someone like Marty at the helm. To a large degree, what I do in my profession is visual effects, and here is essentially the 'father of visual effects.' He created this in-camera trickery and had such love for the art form-it's so much a part of this movie."
Martin Scorsese also features more of Méliès' work as "films within the film," such as "A Thousand and One Nights," which features a group of dancing skeletons that appear to vanish when confronted by sword-wielding adventurers. The filmmaker himself appeared as Satan in multiple projects, and Ben Kingsley appears in perfect imitation, down to the costume and the 'disappearance' through a trap door in the floor. Other scenes are representative of several similar ones from multiple films, and the dragon is one such multi-sourced creation.
Whenever any Méliès film was 'directly' quoted onscreen by Martin Scorsese, hours of work went in to authentically reproducing every aspect of the film-from the appearances of the performers and their movements, to the costumes, lighting and effects. Footage was re-created frame by frame, in painstaking detail. Rob Legato confirms, "I can't describe enough the lengths to which we went to create the spirit of Méliès in his studio-the costumes, the makeup, the lighting, the assistant directors working out the blocking and expressions of the actors exactly as they looked in the original films. It's as accurate as we could get matching the clips, beat for beat."
Authenticity and accuracy were indeed the mandate, and filmmakers went above and beyond to keep the vision 'true'... for example, the period seamstresses shown working on Georges Méliès' films are actually the crew seamstresses from "Hugo." Martin Scorsese confesses, "It was an enormous undertaking, and we didn't fully realise how challenging it would be. But it was enjoyable. We really felt, when we were working in the Méliès Studio, that it was a celebration for all of us and an honor to be making our versions of these lasting works."
While Ben Kingsley was duly inspired from watching all of the existing films of Méliès, he found a more direct character inspiration much nearer to hand: "I watched all of Georges' films, but it's not a question for me of preparation and research. That's minimal. It doesn't really teach you anything about what it's like to be Georges. But then, working with Martin Scorsese, who is such a genius, I realised that my role model for playing Georges Méliès should be Martin Scorsese! There he is. Why look any further? I didn't have to go out and research someone who's been dead for a long time, I can't speak with him. I feel I'm living with a pioneer of cinema, in the same room, day after day. That's where I looked."
Méliès created his effects using trial and error-filming, waiting for the film to be developed and edited, then viewing it.... it either worked or it didn't. Rob Legato turned to 'tried and true' techniques to achieve onscreen magic for Martin Scorsese, especially with one massive scene involving a derailed locomotive that screeches through the station and explodes out of one of the gigantic windows into the Paris street below.
Just such an accident occurred at the Gare Montparnasse, on October 23, 1895. The still shocking image of the train engine in the street, the back end leaning up against the remains of the grand window, became Legato's reference. He explains, "My first instinct was to photograph the scene. I had very good experiences photographing miniature models in 'Titanic' and 'Apollo 13.' So, we constructed the train and the window [in 1:4 scale], set up the same mechanics, and it reacted much like it did when the historical crash really occurred, and ultimately, matching the train's twisted position just like in the photograph."
Construction of the 15-foot-long train and 20-foot-tall station window took the design team and engineers four months to build. To achieve additional scale, models of miniature bicycles and suitcases were added to the street just below the window. The actual model train crash took only a second-and-a-half, but when slowed down and finished off with other effects, the result is in scale and quite convincing.
For a few scenes, Martin Scorsese took his 3D camera on location, to add even more period feel and authenticity. Scenes with Jude Law as Hugo's father, working at his museum job, London's internationally renowned Victoria and Albert Museum stood in for a Parisian one. Isabelle and Hugo go to the cinema in a historic film house in Paris-an actual one-the lobby decorated with existing antique posters from silent films and films in release in 1930 and '31. The Parisian theater where Georges is feted is, in fact, a lecture hall at the Sorbonne-the historical landmark in the Latin Quarter, the 5th arrondissement of Paris, which formerly housed the centuries' old center of learning. A younger Georges is shown levitating Jeanne in a flashback, and the sequence was filmed at the Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet in Paris (the look of the scene was inspired by a period poster advertising the illusion, even down to Sandy Powell hand-painting the inside of Jeanne's skirt, which is visible while the damsel is floating).
Paris, France in 1931 is evident in every aspect of "Hugo," from the costumes, to the sets, the dressing and the styling. Composer Howard Shore's score is a love letter, both to the French culture in the 1930s and to the groundbreaking early days of cinema. Howard Shore's music is composed for two ensembles - one nested within the other - to create a sense of layering in the musical palette. Inside a full symphony orchestra resides a smaller ensemble, a sort of nimble French dance band that includes the ondes Martenot, musette, cimbalom, tack piano, gypsy guitar, upright bass, a 1930s trap-kit and alto saxophone. "I wanted to match the depth of the sound to the depth of the image-a marriage of light and sound," says Howard Shore. 'Leading All The Way Home': La Fin D'un Reve
For Ben Kingsley, bringing the 'Father of Narrative Filmmaking' to life was only one of the benefits of performing in "Hugo." Ben Kingsley posits, "The characters are so rich, and the actors playing them so gifted, they really have found the joy, the glory and the surprise that one usually finds in an animated film. But it goes far beyond that-Martin has used the natural eccentricities and energies of the performers to great effect. It's got mystery, it's funny and moving. The set is breathtakingly beautiful; the toys in my shop are exquisite. The colors, the 3D
it's terribly entertaining, and wonderful in the most literal sense."
From first seeing "A Trip to the Moon," to watching his illustrated novel transformed into a film, author Brian Selznick maintained his gratitude and sense of wonder: "Watching the movie now, I think about myself as a child drawing day and night, and I think about Martin Scorsese in the cinema with his father, and Thelma Schoonmaker growing up in Aruba, and John Logan watching Laurence Olivier as Hamlet, and Dante Ferretti sitting in a clock tower in Italy. I marvel at the long, unexpected twists and turns that led us here... children from all over the world who grew up and came together to collaborate on a movie about two lonely kids who find their purpose in a train station in Paris."
Martin Scorsese closes, "As a moviemaker, I feel that everything done in film today began with Georges Méliès. And when I go back and look at his original films, I feel moved and inspired, because they still carry the thrill of discovery over 100 years after they were made; and because they are among the first, powerful expressions of an art form that I've loved, and to which I've devoted myself for the better part of my life."
Martin Scorsese & Jude Law Hugo Part 2 - www.femail.com.au/martin-scorsese-hugo-part2.htm