Tintin More Jackson Than Spielberg

While fans who are aware of “Tintin” have been enthusiastic about the project, the single most common complaint from fanboys unfamiliar with Herge’s brilliant stories of the roving reporter has been that their ‘god’ Steven Spielberg shouldn’t be wasting his time with such nonsense.

This is despite the fact almost all of them are completely unfamiliar with the material, even though the twenty-four graphic novels have been in publication for over eight decades. Decades before the likes of “Watchmen” hit the shelves it was weaving stories of Middle Eastern tension, South American and Eastern European coup d’etats, opium smuggling, human trafficking, arms dealing and espionage.

The endless bickering has angered and upset me, a guy for whom Tintin was one of the few comic books I read and adored growing up, far more than I expected. For those moaners though I’ve got good news, you can have him back – it looks like he’s done.

An article in Variety this weekend reports that the surprisingly short 32-day principal photography shoot on the 3D motion capture project “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” has come to a close.

More interesting is that despite reports that this was to be a Steven Spielberg/Peter Jackson collaboration, much of the work on this first film is going to be handled by the latter. Spielberg has now essentially handed over the project to Jackson who will focus on the film’s special effects for the next eighteen months.

Jackson also traveled to Los Angeles for rehearsals and for the first week of shooting, begging the question – who really is directing this film?. Producer Kathleen Kennedy claims that “They are amazingly collaborative, even more so than Steven and George (Lucas were on the ‘Raiders’ films).”

Jackson is currently sketching out ideas for the second film and its script, though actual writing duties may be handled by some or all of the trio of scribes who worked on the first one – Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish. No green light has yet been given on the property.

One thing is for sure, the technology being used to create the adventure feature is being kept top secret. “You have to see it to understand (the technology). It really can’t be described” says Spielberg’s longtime spokesman Marvin Levy, while Kennedy says “It’s extremely difficult to explain to someone unless they are standing here next to me, and usually then their reaction is, ‘Oh my god.'”

Sony will be handling distribution in Europe and other countries where the character has had a long and well-established reputation. Paramount on the other hand will be handling territories such as the US and parts of Asia where many aren’t familiar with the character.