Beowulf was definitely the first time I felt like I was working in big deal Hollywood. Zemeckis is huge. HUGE! And I was tasked with drawing pictures for one of his movies. It was nice that I was able to move between Beowulf and Monster House (essentially working for the same people) and never leave my desk. Except when I had to travel up north to pitch boards to the man himself.
My very first assignment was by far one of my best working experiences. Bob assigned me the the Brecca Race. Which was essentially about a two-inch long paragraph in the script. It came down to- Beowulf fights Sea Monsters. What I have here is the super long version. Bob told me to have fun with it...and I did. For weeks. You can tell they needed to cut it down for the film, but it was still a great way for me to dig my heels into the film.
The Frisian battle that I boarded is pretty much what's in the film, but one crazy idea that Bob had was to have the entire battle told through first-person points of view. What we came up with was a ridiculously violent dance where the POV would shift with each death. Can you imagine the insanity of that? I heard they did a pre-viz run of that, and I can only hope it shows up on the DVD.
The first person POV idea also carried over into the boarding of the Funeral sequence. The initial pass was pretty straight-forward- a somber send-off of the great adventurer and the visual nod to the film "The Vikings". Then Bob wanted to try a version told only from the POVs of Wiglaf, Wealthow and Grendel's mother. If you've seen the film, then you know that the funeral was a shortened version with elements of both..
Finally, I was given the Dragon fight to flesh out as my last assignment. I love how close this is to the finished film. It always feels good to come up with things that work through years of other people offering ideas and opinions.
Robot Operator Manuals ©2008 Simeon Wilkins