A Scanner, Finally?

The original release date for Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly is finally coming out! A second trailer for the film has been posted on Apple’s site for anyone to check out, based on head-trippin’ Philip K. Dick’s story. If you don’t know Dick, well, you don’t know dick.

Being a fan of Linklater, PKD and digital animation, this is definitely on my list of must see movies.

This article about the post production process is interesting, and mentions the reasons for the lockout of the animators….

But behind closed doors, it was clear something had to change. Sabiston, who was falling behind schedule, allegedly asked for more time, more money, and more staff. Tensions mounted, and one Friday in February 2005, four months after the animation process began, Sabiston and his four-person core team went to a local café to discuss strategy. Pallotta took action. A security guard was posted at the door, the locks were changed, and their workstations were seized. Pallotta replaced Sabiston with two local artists, Jason Archer and Paul Beck, whom he felt would bring a more practical, commercial attitude to the production. “There were a lot of comments about ‘ruining the art,'” says a source close to the situation. “But we weren’t trying to ruin it, we just wanted it better than they wanted it done.” The studio bumped the budget to $8.7 million and gave Linklater another six months to finish the movie.

Pallotta recast the operation as a more traditional, Disney­esque animation project – complete with a style manual, a strict deadline schedule, and a policy of breaking the film into even smaller segments. For example, one animator was assigned to work primarily on Winona Ryder’s character. The thinking was that the character would then look the same throughout the entire film. The style manual standardized the movie’s visuals and indoctrinated the new artists. It dictated a drawing method for everything from male characters (“an emphasis on tendons in the neck adds masculinity”) to Reeves’ beard (“retain the patchy quality by inking large, separate chunks that can be unified by color”). This approach, used successfully by larger animation houses, eliminates the personal interpretation that can sabotage a director’s unified vision.

That sounds like the way it should have been handled from the get go. Then again, Linklater’s earlier Waking Life, using the same rotoscoping techniques, didn’t need such a tight constraint, given the lattitude individual artists were given for their vignettes.

Just don’t follow the link to Wired’s Top 10 Reasons Keanu Reeves Rules… I’m not even gonna hot link it.

Damn… too late.

A Scanner Darkly open July 7th, 2006.