'Rango' voice cast donned costumes, played out actions of their animated characters
BY GENE TRIPLETT
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Acting can become a lonely artistic endeavor when it comes to doing voice work for an animated film. Each of the cast members usually work separately and alone and at different times, sitting in a recording studio booth, reading their lines from a script, doing without the luxury of playing off of other live, warm actor bodies in front of them.
Well, under the direction of Gore Verbinski, that problem was solved during the making of the trippy animated animal fable/Western, “Rango.”
Voice stars Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Harry Dean Stanton, Bill Nighy and all the others who played the good, the bad and the ugly creatures populating and surrounding the desert town of Dirt were brought into a studio together, given whole or partial costumes and props to work with, and were actually filmed as they were allowed to play out their roles together, bouncing their performances off one another as if they were making a live action movie or putting on a play together.
“The process that we did, Gore created this sort of atmosphere that was really, truly ludicrous, I mean ridiculous, it was like just regional theater at its worst,” Depp, the voice of chameleon hero Rango, said during a recent press conference at Beverly Hills’ Four Seasons Hotel.
“And somehow –not the idea of motion capture — but emotion capture, you know, certain gestures, body language, movement, something you might have done, you know, with your eyes, all those guys, you know, these animators took it and put it in there. So I mean, it was very strange. I mean, for Harry Dean Stanton to walk up to me one afternoon — because I’ve known him for a million years — and he walks up to me and says, ‘This is a weird gig, man.’”
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