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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Seth Green, actor and nonentity in Hollywood’s CGI heaven

Have you read Connie Willis’s novel Remake? [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.] If not, for shame: Connis Willis is a genius, and you should be reading everything she writes. But this particular novel of hers is noteworthy for its prediction/warning about a near-future Hollywood that thrives on movies that have been dramatically digitally altered.

Now, read this, from Movie Talk on Yahoo! Movies:

Seth Green, Digitally and Sonically Erased From ‘Mars Needs Moms’

Moviemakers can do crazy things with computers these days. They can reverse-age a guy from shriveled old man-baby to healthy, adolescent Brad Pitt. They can make a sixtysomething Jeff Bridges look like he did in 1982 (albeit with a really creepy-looking mouth). And, if they discover that a 37-year-old actor in a performance-capture suit can jump around like a nine-year-old but not really sound like one, they can easily recast the voice part with an actual kid. The animators for the upcoming “Mars Need Moms” pulled off that last trick with “Robot Chicken” star and onetime “Cha-Ching! Guy” Seth Green, reports the L.A. Times:

“During production, the star acted as he would in any performance-capture movie, which requires actors to move in special sensor-equipped suits. Green spent six weeks outfitted in a uniform while also simultaneously performing his lines. But during the post-production process, in which animators used computer imaging to shape the character, filmmakers noticed that Green was able to physically embody a 9-year-old — imitating the movements and behaviors of a child — but his voice sounded too mature for the character.”

Thus, they found 11-year-old Seth Dusky to come in and dub Green’s lines, considering Green is a 37-year-old man who was having some trouble channeling the sound of prepubescence. To review: To nail down how a nine-year-old talks, they had an 11-year-old speak. To nail down how a nine-year-old moves, they motion-captured Seth Green jumping around. That sounds about right.

That doesn’t sound right. It sounds weird. Well, it sounds weird in the first place that anyone thought an adult could fully replicate a child’s presence. But then to decide that that adult couldn’t stand in for a child, and that doesn’t sink the movie? Criminy. We’re in Willis’s brave new world for sure.

(Thanks to bronxbee for the link.)



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