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Frank Oz Interviewed in Chicago Tribune

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by jobedo, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. jobedo

    jobedo Member

  2. mb22

    mb22 New Member

    quote

    "The actual puppet can't work. Those days have gone by -- we're in a digital age. That puppet would look archaic. But he'll always have a place in my heart."
  3. ... I'm disturbed. I found this on IMDB.

    Computerized animation may have made the intricate puppetry that went into the production of the Muppet characters as obsolete as hand-drawn animation, one of the original Muppet creators indicated today by Frank Oz, who created the Yoda character for the films and provided the voice, said that in the original films, operating the puppet involved "hard, sweaty, down-and-dirty work in the pit; the actual puppet can't work" in filmmaking any longer. "Those days have gone by -- we're in a digital age," Oz told the Tribune. I condensed it some but you guys get the general gist of it. :cry: Is this the end of the Muppets as we know them? Or am I hopefully jumping the gun?
  4. anythingmuppet

    anythingmuppet New Member

  5. BEAR

    BEAR Active Member

    No, this is not the end. Sure there are certain effects that is nicely achieved through CGI such as Telly fullbodied on a pogo stick and what not. They aren't going to make all Muppetry computerized though. It wouldn't be the same show. That is what makes the Muppets so charming. They are really there with you. I don't want kids to see a computer animated Big Bird walking down the street.
  6. gfarkwort

    gfarkwort Member

    Frank Oz Interview in Chicago Tribune

    Hi, I found this article of the Star Wars EPIII release in the Chicago Tribune and Frank OZ is interviewed and it's pretty interesting I think . So heres the whole thing.

    The `Star Wars' universe of `Sith' makes its DVD debut

    By Louis R. Carlozo
    Tribune staff reporter
    Published November 1, 2005

    "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" caps a remarkable sci-fi saga that spans three decades, a cast of thousands -- and, of course, a galaxy far, far away.
    While George Lucas is most often first thought of as the mastermind behind this alternate universe, it's hard to imagine what "Star Wars" would be like without two talents: producer Rick McCallum and Muppet man Frank Oz, the voice and "body" of Yoda. On the Small Screen spoke with both men on the occasion of Tuesday's Episode III DVD release.
    RICK McCALLUM
    Q. It's clear what a producer does in music -- but what exactly does a film producer do?
    A. There's a lot of ego out there and unfortunately, the star system has created this world where if you're a friend of the actor, or an agent, you can get a credit on the film as a producer. But in film, it's a director's medium. . . . My job is to create the environment, raise the money, get the crew -- make sure that everything the writer-director dreams up comes to the screen as close to the way he saw it in his mind as possible. My job is to serve, support and make sure [George Lucas] has everything he needs. Because if we fail, everything we do fails. It's partly money, partly psychological.
    Q. It must've been satisfying to see "Sith" succeed with critics and fans where the previous two episodes encountered some resistance.
    A. In 1990, when George had first told me the original backstory he had done, he told me that Episodes 1 and 2 were going to be very tough for fans of the original films. He said that it would be introducing the story to a whole new generation -- and his audience has always been 8- to 12-year-old boys. One of the things that makes George and Steven Spielberg amazing is that they still have the point of view of 8- to 12-year-old boys. If you look at where the cameras are placed in their films, it's at that eye level.
    Q. Still, didn't Episode III mark a sort of comeback? A step up from the days of Jar Jar Binks?
    A. Characters such as Jar Jar, which are so offensive to people over 25, are so popular to kids. With kids, he's the third most popular character behind R2-D2 and Yoda, who's No. 1. But you've got to remember that two groups kind of emerged -- including kids who thought the original trilogy was kind of bad, that the effects were too slow, and could identify with a character their own age [Anakin Skywalker]. For a kid to grow up with a character, they reached a point where we knew that Episode III could bring peace to both galaxies [of fans], so to speak. But George always knew there was a risk. That was the plan.
    Q. What's been the most rewarding aspect of working on the "Star Wars" films?
    A. Just seeing how a simple space western affects people is so thrilling -- I don't take it too seriously -- but you snatch that feeling from the air for as long as you can hold it. We were in this little town in Morocco where the only thing you see as you leave is this sign that says "Timbuktu, 65 days by camel." And they were out there with this stretched sheet for a screen and this old 35-mm projector, and these Bedouin tribes that had never seen a film at all -- in complete and utter awe.
    FRANK OZ
    Q. You were known as the voice of Yoda in the "Star Wars" films, but obviously, there was more to it than that.
    A. It is odd that I'm known as the voice of Yoda, because if I'm just the voice, how was the rest of it done? The important part is the actual performance. Who does it? Do they push a button? That is the hard, sweaty, down-and-dirty work in the pit. The voice is a vacation compared to that. I am spending all of my time, and sweat, with three other people -- it took four people to work Yoda -- and I did the voice in post-production.
    Q. But then in Episodes II and III, Yoda went CGI. How did that change things?
    A. The new computer version of Yoda is something I didn't do. Rob Coleman [the animation director] at Industrial Light & Magic and a bunch of people worked on it for more than a year. I met with them, gave them thoughts and eventually recorded the voice track. So I had nothing to do with the work.
    Q. Do friends and family ever ask you to do Yoda on their phone answering machines?
    A. Yep. And I always say no. He's not a party trick. He's not a trained monkey. And I'm not a man like Mel Blanc, who's a brilliant man of voices. I'm a man of characters; I immerse myself in the characters and the voices just come. There are always reasons why a particular character sounds and talks the way he does. If not, he's just being cute. And I hate the pejorative cute.
    Q. How, then, did you prepare for the part of Yoda?
    A. I just rehearsed and rehearsed incessantly for weeks. I studied tapes of old men's voices. And I wrote an autobiography of the character with his likes and his dislikes, so I knew them innately, even if nobody else did.

    Q. So . . . care to let us in on what Yoda likes?
    A. Yoda really likes candy. Any kind of candy. And now that he's older, he can't do it because of the teeth.
    Q. Author Dick Staub has a book, "Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters," where he examines Yoda's insights for their profound spiritual value. Does this surprise you?
    A. When Yoda describes the force, that really clicked with me. . . . I see Yoda as a sensei master from Zen. But everyone has their own viewpoint.
    Q. Now that the saga is over, do you miss the green Jedi?
    A. There's a real sadness there. It's not just Yoda, but the people at Lucasfilm. But George tends to have things in his pocket, and if he calls me for Yoda, I'll be there.
    The actual puppet can't work. Those days have gone by -- we're in a digital age. That puppet would look archaic. But he'll always have a place in my heart.
  7. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

    Just like hand drawn cartoons (as rare as they may be getting), you'll never ever replace the original thing. Yes, technology will push forward (as it should), but there will always be a home for the real thing.
  8. AruggeRadio

    AruggeRadio Member

    Digital Muppets

    Hey this artical was on IMDB Today.

    Muppets Become Victims of Computerized Animation

    Computerized animation may have made the intricate puppetry that went into the production of the Muppet characters as obsolete as hand-drawn animation, one of the original Muppet creators indicated today (Tuesday) in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Promoting the latest Star Wars DVD, which went on sale today, Frank Oz, who created the Yoda character for the films and provided the voice, said that in the original films, operating the puppet involved "hard, sweaty, down-and-dirty work in the pit." He disclosed that it took four people to operate Yoda. In Episodes I and II, however, Yoda was created by computer animators, and now, he said, "the actual puppet can't work" in filmmaking any longer. "Those days have gone by -- we're in a digital age," Oz told the Tribune. "That puppet would look archaic. But he'll always have a place in my heart."
  9. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    No. No CGI on Muppets. I can promise you that. It would be ugly and stupid.
  10. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    Great article. Glad to realize that Muppets won't ever be CGI. They would be ugly up close (but for far off, wide-screen effects I could see it).
  11. Vic Romano

    Vic Romano Active Member

  12. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    Remember the CGI Gonzo & Kermit demo at Muppetfest? Let's hope Disney wont pick up on it.:eek:
  13. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    Ugh. And how. Funny as it was as a demo to show how it works, and it does work for Francis the Adorable Badger via JHC, it just won't make it with The Muppets or SS, or FR characters either. It would be...ugly.

    You know, the article is about Yoda and Star Wars, actually. Not about The Muppets. He's mentioning the Yoda puppet being archaic at this point.

    I don't know about the post above mentioning that about the Muppets. The closest to it was the CGI Muppet Babies thing, but even that's based off a cartoon more than it is the puppets.
  14. Infinity Sirius

    Infinity Sirius New Member

    Well Disney is moving into the CGI business with movies like Chicken Little coming out, but maybe the new CEO won't follow Eisner's path.
  15. Rowlf's Roadie

    Rowlf's Roadie New Member

    And remember, Yoda's meant to be realistic. If that's what the Muppets were going for, they would've gone CGI years ago.
  16. Barry Lee

    Barry Lee Active Member

    interesting interview :o
  17. True. It's really a shame that the IMDb put the word "Muppet" in the headline, because I see Oz's interview as referring to more realistic creatures, such as the ones that the Henson company has always avoided labeling as "Muppets".
  18. BEAR

    BEAR Active Member

    If Disney has any sense in them at all, they will realize/know that using CGI will not make them Muppets anymore. Plus, do you realize how many people will be left unemployed if that happens. I am really talking of the Muppeteer team. Sure they can provide voices but so much of the physical personality and spontaneity comes from the talent of the puppeteer. I understand that CGI is used sometimes for certain effects these days with the Muppets, but it should be left minimal. Only used when absolutely necessary. Otherwise it rips away all the charm and lovability the Muppets have left. This will also mean no more public appearances. Kermit will no longer be able to do things like guest host the Tonight Show and Miss Piggy can't banter with Regis. If it leaks to Sesame Street, who will kids be reacting to in Talk Spots? I doubt any of this will happen though. No one can just disregard the value of these creations so much.
  19. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    The article was discussing Yoda. I don't think we have to worry about that ever happening to The Muppets.
  20. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    I agree with you Kev, Frank was saying that the Yoda puppet would look archaic next to the other Star Wars cast and the overall environment. This won't happen to the Muppets.


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