A T-1000 Gold Star!

Gathering collectibles is something I haven’t done since I was a teenager. And, as you know (surely you know by now?!) I’m a big fan of Terminator 2
. So I’m on a mission to get some T2 props, collectibles, and the likes. You’d think the character uniform of the T-1000 from Terminator 2 is something that would be easy to get, right? I mean, it’s an LAPD long sleeve police shirt, a white t-shirt, police bottoms, police boots, belt and a badge. If you want to go all out you get the police bike, the jacket with patches, the sunglasses and the police helmet. It’s not as easy as you might think! A genuine police badge is a nightmare to source. And if you find a maker or seller, getting it with the number “572” on is near impossible. The police shirt is no longer available with pockets the correct shape, nor can you find the special buttons that go on the pockets and epaulettes. I did have an eBay seller who went off to source the bottoms, but never got back to me. The helmet was a genuine police helmet and no longer in circulation… NIGHTMARE!

So on Friday my second replica LAPD police badge turned up. It’s my second because Royal Mail lost the first. I say lost. It was allegedly delivered and signed for. Except it wasn’t. And I’ve been on the trail of finding out the exact point of using “Track and Trace” if you cannot track where it began and whom it went through, or trace the items point of delivery using GPS or any records. But that’s a rant for another day…

So as a sign of my geekness, I posted a picture of the badge on Twitter. I know some of you out there appreciate these things, though I expected no reply of sorts…

T2_Twitter

And Robert Patrick ‘favourited’ it! The actual guy himself clicked a gold star on my behalf!

RobertPatrick_twitter

And therefore as of today, I am a happy bunny! Though the thought of where my first badge went is enough to bring me back down again. Explain yourself Royal Mail!

Collectible Item: Tron Legacy Identity Discs

My fascination with movies started before I was seven years old. Back then our movie collection was on VHS tape, and I’d regularly wear them out. My brother used to dub back-up tapes for when the day came that my originals would no longer play. As a “grown up” I waste entire weekends watching behind-the-scenes featurettes, finding out how stunts were done, and reading blogs and magazine articles by the cast and crew for all the inside info on how movies are made.

One of my worn out VHS cassettes was Tron. As a kid I was captivated by it. The look of the film was different to anything I’d ever seen. The idea of being transported into a computer world was fascinating. And that lightcycle scene was simply mind boggling. When I heard they were making Tron: Legacy I was instantly transported back to the feeling of a kid in the late 80’s.

Knowing the extent that Special Effects had come in the two decades since the first film, the Comic Con proof-of-concept teaser trailer (i.e., not the actual film, but a trailer made for a movie that wasn’t made yet) gave me the chills… and the slow motion test footage of Anis Cheurfa “tricking”and flipping to avoid being derezzed was simply jaw-dropping…

“proof-of-concept” Presentation Trailer (with Comic Con crowd reaction)

Disc Battle Test Footage of Anis Cheurfa (Phantom Camera 1000fps)

At christmas I was pleased to hear that my young nephew was just as keen on Tron: Legacy as I was with Tron as a kid. Same feeling, different time. During the search for Christmas gifts (one of them was a Light Cycle toy) I stumbled across an Identity Disc. These were plastic replicas of the ones used in the movie which light up and play sound effects during battles. It became apparent that more expensive (and limited) “deluxe” versions also existed. Further digging on eBay led me to these…

Sam Flynn Identity Disc

Rinzler Identity Disc

These custom-made upgrades to the Deluxe versions of the original Spinmaster toys are hand-made by a user called Fatal5150 aka Soulinertia. The internals are cleaned out, dremmeled and replace with a stronger power pack and super-bright LED’s.

Needless to say I’ve ordered both the Sam Flynn (black/white and blue) and Rinzler (black/orange and white).

The price might seem high, but at the end of the day you are sourcing a rare and limited edition Deluxe Spinmaster Identity Disc, and having it custom upgraded. After watching his handiwork on this time-lapse, the money seems inconsequential:

A Review: The Making of Terminator 2 Judgment Day

I’ve accumulated dozens of behind-the-scenes books about film production, several of them about the making of “Terminator 2” (I’m a huge fan of Terminator 2!). This book, “The Making Of Terminator 2 Judgment Day“, is different from others I own as it appears written during the production of the movie as opposed to several years later.  It also contains several unseen on-set photos showing before, during and after filming.

Making of Terminator 2

There are a handful of diary-style entries in the book giving the reader an instant idea of what was happening that day, as if you were standing on-set yourself. A poignant example is an entry dated 16th January 1991 (page 101), where a dream sequence involving Sarah and Kyle Reese inside Room 19 at Pescadero State Hospital discuss the future war and how weak Sarah really is (originally cut from the theatrical release, now included in the Special Edition). Actor Michael Biehn stands in a dreamy fog and says “There’s not much time left in the world, Sarah”. As it turned out on that day over in the Gulf, Operation Desert Storm had begun. This set a sombre mood across the entire crew, with the very real threat of a new and very real war brewing on the horizon. Watch the film again, and you’ll see Biehn really meant his line.

There are also some photos in this book that I haven’t seen in others, such as behind-the-scenes of some of the miniature shoots by Fantasy II and 4-Ward Productions for the Future War shots and the Nuclear Dream shots. There’s also photos showing the action and scenes being shot but also included are the cameras and crew. A true capture of the film-making process.

There’s a question I’ve always wanted to ask James Cameron, which is;

Did you deliberately shoot certain scenes early with Edward Furlong , so as to have him appear as young as possible on-screen?

It appears that several times in the movie Furlong looks younger in vulnerable situations, and older in places where he displays a Leadership role. But was that deliberate?

***See update at the end of the blog!***

To explain a bit further, most movies are not shot the way they appear in the final film, ie “in sequence”, normally due to time and money.  (A note to add here; Stanley Kubrick shot The Shining in sequence and they over-ran in shooting time and way over budget). This book partially answers my question. The writers give several dates and clues along the way, giving the reader the ability to work out some of the shooting order.

Although the book doesn’t specifically answer my question, it did allow me to put together a timeline of the production schedule of where and when scenes were shot, and in what order. If you’re interested to know the shot order of Princapal Photography for Terminator 2, you can visually see it on this timeline over at Tiki-Toki.

Despite the negligible cons I’ve pointed out It’s still a book any budding film maker should have. It does give good insight into the Production for this feature, and there’s information in here on Terminator 2 that I hadn’t come across in similar books.

I’ve given it 4 out of 5 (Amazon review) based purely on the couple of times where information I’d just read appeared reworded and given again in another section. The photos are also mainly black and white, which is a shame. The book is also relatively short at 128 pages and abruptly concludes with what feels like a book-ended interview with James Cameron.

If you’re a fan of Terminator 2, a fan of James Cameron or purely interested in the production process of feature films I do highly recommend this book, regardless of the 4 star rating.

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Here’s a look at the teaser trailer (shot in five days by the legendary Stan Winston  on a strict budget of $150’000 as requested by James Cameron. It was shot using the original endoskeleton from the first Terminator movie);

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**Update; Jan 2014** I now own a unique collection of original paperwork for T2, including the Shooting Schedule (plus all revisions) and the call sheets for every day of shooting. It answers my question regarding the order in which the film was shot!

‘The clothes make the character’

The Fitzroy (feature film)

 ‘The clothes make the character’ is a famous quote I’m probably misremembering by a famous actor. Well it’s true and I would include make-up in that mangled quote.

‘The clothes and the make-up… er… make the character’ – Andrew Harmer

Pithy!

Fitzroy-255

One of the real pleasures I had when shooting The Fitzroy was watching the actors come in in the early hours of the morning, often tired, occasionally grumpy, only to emerge a little later from the make-up and costume room as laughing, smiling, characters, completely transformed. It was a joy to behold.

Make-up and Costume are so important to a film, especially when the film is a period piece. We’ve been blessed on The Fitzroy to have a great team creating the look. Spearheaded by Poppy Bell (costume) and Karen Evans (make-up), they have worked wonders on a minuscule budget.

But enough of me waffling on. I’ll let…

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