Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hellboy 2 Versus The Opera

On the train from Zagreb to Budapest, we shared a compartment with Kirk. He is an L.A. accountant working on Hellboy 2, which is shooting in Budapest. Guess who got to visit the set and fling themselves at a masked Ron Perlman enthusiastically yelling, "Ron! Buddy! Remember when I visited you on the set of Star Trek: Nemesis?" Later, Isaac sidled up to Selma Blair but not before I got in there and had a lengthy conversation with her about style (she's the undisputed champ, hands down!).

Really, we just meekly stood in a spot least likely to get in the way and we watched Guillermo del Toro direct a scene where the whole happy Hellboy gang are entering this crazy, underground lair that looks a bit like The Dance Cave with dry ice. There was a PA whose job it was to control Hellboy's tail via remote control (his technique consisted of lazy circles that screamed nonchalance yet alertness to the situation). There was another PA who was the crab wrangler - one of the characters (who, instead of having legs, wheels himself on a little wagon although the actor himself does have legs, skinny ones encased in restrictive spandex) had to be covered in bright red and blue crabs. Those little guys will stand still but sometimes fall off when you're going take after take. There was a Hungarian animal specialist on-set.

There was also the DVD extras guy, shooting all the behind-the-scenes action. I covet his job. I have a whole list of random jobs that I'd love to have and this is one of them. There's no pressure! You get to tell the story of a story! Interviews, b-roll, cinema verite! So what if your life revolves around sci-fi weirdness for an entire year?

We perused some sets and initial architectural blueprints and craned our necks at green screens that were waaaaay high.

The next night, we were at the Budapest Opera House, looking down from the third balcony at red velvet curtains that were just as big as the green screens from the night before. We saw a production of Andre Chenier. And yes, it's a little surreal to think about the two artistic realms we'd visited within the 24 hours, but isn't everything a bit surreal when you think about comparisons?

Listening to the chorus, I began making a Hellboy 2 versus the Budapest Opera list in my mind. Hellboy 2? Massive green screens with a massive dry cleaning bill to match (we were being toured around by the accountant, remember?). The opera had red velvet curtains more than four storeys tall. Not sure what the expenses for maintenance would be. The background players in Hellboy 2 wore disgusting monster costumes (very well-rendered, very disgusting) with flesh wounds, giant spiky hairs, feet boots, etc. The production of Andre Chenier was all wigs, stockings, and rouge. And that was just the men.

We were lucky to have had a tour of Hellboy 2 because I'm fascinated by the artistry that goes into set design, make-up and wardrobe and even if sci-fi isn't my steez, this is the genre of the most fantastical, wow-factor stuff. Thanks be to Kirk, L.A. accountant, for driving us out one night into the middle of nowhere, an hour outside of Budapest. We were only creeped out for one, brief "where are we?" moment.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home