ROBERT ZEMECKIS TALKS ABOUT A CHRISTMAS CAROL
"It's as if Charles Dickens wrote this story to be a movie--it's so visual and cinematic. It's the greatest time-travel story ever written and I wanted to do the movie the way I believe it was originally envisioned by the author."
Robert Zemeckis, Director/Producer/Screenwriter
"DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL," a multi-sensory thrill ride re-envisioned by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Zemeckis, captures the fantastical essence of the classic Dickens tale in a groundbreaking 3D motion picture event.
Ebenezer Scrooge (JIM CARREY) begins the Christmas holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk (GARY OLDMAN) and his cheery nephew (COLIN FIRTH). Scrooge later encounters the ghost of his dead business partner Joseph Marley, who's paying the price in the afterlife for his own callousness. Marley hopes to help Scrooge avoid a similar fate and tells him that he will be visited by three spirits. But when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come take Old Scrooge on an eye-opening journey revealing truths he's reluctant to face, he must open his heart to undo years of ill will before it's too late.
Walt Disney Pictures and ImageMovers Digital present "DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL," a production directed by Robert Zemeckis from his own adaptation based on the classic novella by Charles Dickens. The film is the first film developed by ImageMovers Digital, which was created by Robert Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke to develop 3D performance capture films exclusively for The Walt Disney Studios. "DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL" is produced by Starkey, Zemeckis and Rapke.
DICKENS' STORY: Filmmakers Capture Author's Vision with Advanced Technology
Thought to be one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told and enjoyed by millions each year at the holidays, "A Christmas Carol" was originally published by Charles Dickens himself in 1843. The novella was an immediate and enduring success.
The filmmakers felt that no film version had truly captured the story in a way that Dickens truly intended. "It's as if Charles Dickens wrote this story to be a movie--it's so visual and cinematic," says Zemeckis. "It's the greatest time-travel story ever written and I wanted to do the movie the way I believe it was originally envisioned by the author."
Performance capture is a process that digitally captures the performances of the actors with computerized cameras in a full 360 degrees, allowing the film to be presented in Disney Digital 3D™. The technologies allowed the filmmakers to present a true Dickensian world with no artistic restrictions, transporting the audience to a time and place previously unavailable.
"The technology is liberating for me as a filmmaker," says Zemeckis. "It allows me to separate the cinema aspect of making a movie, which is something all filmmakers try to control, and realize the magic of the performances from my cast.
It's the perfect blend of welcoming those wonderful accidents that happen when an actor is performing, and then being able to put the cinema language into the film."
Producer Steve Starkey adds, "The characters in the story are bigger than life--ghosts and even Scrooge himself who evolves through time. We can do things in this new form of cinema that you couldn't do before."
While the technology afforded filmmakers incredible freedoms to create environments and characters that have never been seen on the big screen before, it still comes back to the story, says Zemeckis. "You take the meanest man alive and show him the error of his ways… and we get to come along for the ride."
JIM CARREY (Scrooge, Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come) stars opposite Ewan McGregor in "I Love You Phillip Morris," a dark comedy that was written and will mark the directing debut of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the writing team behind "Bad Santa." Based on a book by Houston Chronicle crime reporter Steve McVicker, the fact-based film casts Carrey as Steven Russell, a married father whose exploits land him in the Texas criminal justice system. In prison he falls in love with his cellmate (McGregor), who eventually is set free, leading Russell to escape from Texas prisons four times.
Carrey was last seen in the Warner Bros. hit comedy "Yes Man," directed by Peyton Reed. In the film, based on a memoir by British author Danny Wallace, Carrey stars as a man who decides to change his life by saying yes to absolutely everything that comes his way. The film co-stars Zooey Deschanel and Bradley Cooper.
In 2008, Carrey was heard as the voice of Horton the Elephant in the blockbuster hit "Horton Hears A Who!" 20th Century Fox's CG animated feature film version of Dr. Seuss' classic book.
In 2007 Carrey starred opposite Virginia Madsen in the New Line psychological thriller "The Number 23," directed by Joel Schumacher. In 2005 Carrey starred opposite Tea Leoni in the highly successful Columbia Pictures/Sony comedy "Fun With Dick and Jane." The film was directed by Dean Parisot ("Galaxy Quest") and produced by Brian Grazer. In 2004 he starred in the Paramount Pictures' film "Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events," based on the children's book series by Daniel Handler as well as the critically acclaimed Focus Features' drama "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind."
In 2003, he starred in the hugely successful Universal Pictures' comedy "Bruce Almighty." The film, which has made over $470 million dollars worldwide, was one of the highest grossing films of the year. "Bruce Almighty" also reunited Carrey with director Tom Shadyac ("Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" & "Liar, Liar") and writer Steve Oedekerk ("Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls").
In 2001, Carrey starred in the Castle Rock feature "The Majestic," directed by Frank Darabont and in 2000, he had the distinction of appearing in the year's highest grossing film; the Universal Pictures' release "How The Grinch Stole Christmas." He was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of "Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy" for his portrayal of the Grinch, as well as a People's Choice Award in the category of "Favorite Motion Picture Star in a Comedy."
In the summer of 2000, Carrey reunited with directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly for the 20th Century Fox comedy "Me, Myself and Irene," for which he received an MTV Movie Award nomination in the category of "Best Comedic Performance" for his portrayal of a split personality in the film. He also won the Golden Globe in 2000 for "Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy" for his portrayal of Andy Kaufman in the 1999 film "Man on the Moon." He had won a Golden Globe Award the previous year for "Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama" for his role in the critically acclaimed film "The Truman Show." The 1999 Golden Globe win marked Carrey's first award for a dramatic role. He also received a Golden Globe nomination in 1997 for "Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy" for "Liar, Liar," the same category in which he was nominated in 1995 for "The Mask." In 2000, he was named "Male Star of the Year" at ShoWest.
Born January 17, 1962 in Newmarket, Ontario, Jim Carrey knew by age three that show business was in his blood. At age 15, Carrey took off for Toronto to perform at Yuk Yuks, the famous comedy club. Following the performance, Carrey's career took off and for the next few years he worked in comedy clubs all over Canada. In 1981, at age 19, he packed his belongings and moved to Los Angeles. Carrey immediately became a regular at Mitzi Shore's Comedy Store, attracting the attention of comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield. Dangerfield was so impressed with the young comic that they began touring together. It was then that things began to happen for Jim Carrey.
1982 proved to be a magical year for Carrey when MTM cast him as the star of their NBC series "Duck Factory." Although the series only lasted 13 weeks, Carrey's work left a lasting impression in Hollywood. The next year he landed the lead role in the feature film "Once Bitten," starring Lauren Hutton. He followed that film with roles in Francis Ford Coppola's "Peggy Sue Got Married," and Geena Davis comedy "Earth Girls Are Easy." In 1988, Carrey made a brief, but memorable, appearance as "Johnny Squares," the self-destructive rock star in the Clint Eastwood film "The Dead Pool."
In 1990, Carrey joined the cast of Fox Television's ensemble comedy hit "In Living Color." In November of the following year, his first Showtime Special, entitled "Jim Carrey's Unnatural Act," premiered to rave reviews. He followed the special's success with a starring role as alcoholic trying to cope with life in Fox's Emmy nominated movie of the week "Doing Time on Maple Drive."
In 1994, after several successful seasons on "In Living Color," Carrey once again branched out into feature films by accepting the lead role in the Warner Bros. comedy "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective." Carrey's no-holds-barred portrayal of "Ace Ventura" made him an instant sensation and made the film a hit. Carrey followed that success in the summer of 1994 by starring in the title role of the action-fantasy "The Mask," based on the best -selling Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. "The Mask" went on to gross in excess of $100 million domestically, winning spectacular reviews for Carrey. That same year he starred opposite Jeff Daniels in the Farrelly brothers' film "Dumb and Dumber." Carrey starred as the "Riddler/ Edward Nygma" in the 1995 blockbuster sequel "Batman Forever." The following year he went on to star in "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls," continuing the misadventures of the world's favorite pet detective, and then starred in Columbia Pictures' "The Cable Guy." Universal Pictures hit "Liar, Liar," opened to record breaking numbers in 1997 earning over $100 million in ticket grosses. His triumphant triple play earned him the honor of "NATO/ShoWest Comedy Star of the Year."
ROBERT ZEMECKIS (Director, Producer, Screenwriter) won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Director's Guild of America Award for Best Director for the hugely successful "Forrest Gump." The film's numerous honors also included Oscars for Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Picture. Zemeckis re-teamed with Hanks on the contemporary drama "Cast Away," the filming of which was split into two sections, book-ending production on "What Lies Beneath." Zemeckis and Hanks served as producers on "Cast Away," along with Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke.
ImageMovers partners Zemeckis, Starkey and Rapke recently formed ImageMovers Digital to focus on performance capture films for The Walt Disney Studios. The initiative furthers the technology they pioneered in the Zemeckis directed films "The Polar Express" and "Beowulf," and the Gil Kenan directed film "Monster House."
Earlier in his career, Zemeckis co-wrote (with Bob Gale) and directed "Back to the Future," which was the top-grossing release of 1985, and for which Zemeckis shared Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Screen play. He then went on to helm "Back to the Future" Part II and Part III, completing one of the most successful film franchises ever.
In addition, he directed and produced "Contact," starring Jodie Foster, based on the best-selling novel by Carl Sagan; and the macabre comedy hit "Death Becomes Her," starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. He also wrote and directed the box office smash "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?," cleverly blending live action and animation; directed the romantic adventure hit "Romancing the Stone," pairing Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner; and co-wrote (with Bob Gale) and directed the comedies "Used Cars" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."
Zemeckis also produced "House on Haunted Hill," and executive produced such films as "The Frighteners," "The Public Eye" and "Trespass," which he also co-wrote with Bob Gale. He and Gale previously wrote "1914," which began Zemeckis' association with Steven Spielberg.
For the small screen, Zemeckis has directed several projects, including the Showtime feature-length documentary "The Pursuit of Happiness," which explored the effect of drugs and alcohol on Twentieth century society. His additional television credits include episodes of Spielberg's "Amazing Stories" and HBO's "Tales From the Crypt."
In 1998, Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke partnered to form the film and television production company ImageMovers. "What Lies Beneath" was the first film to be released under the ImageMovers banner, followed by "Cast Away," which opened to critical and audience acclaim in the Fall of 2000, and "Matchstick Men."
In March 2001, the USC School of Cinema-Television celebrated the opening of the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts. This state-of-the-art center is the country's first and only fully digital training center and houses the latest in non-linear production and post-production equipment as well as stages, a 50-seat screening room and USC student-run television station, Trojan Vision.
In 2004, Zemeckis produced and directed the motion capture film The Polar Express, starring Tom Hanks. Most recently, he brought the true life story of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson to the big screen. In addition, he served as executive producer on both "Monster House," and the Queen Latifah comedy "Last Holiday."
Zemeckis produced and directed his second motion capture film "Beowulf," which was also be produced by Rapke and Starkey. The feature, which stars Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie and Ray Winstone is based on one of the oldest surviving pieces of Anglo-Saxon literature, written sometime before the Tenth Century A.D.
THE ART OF ANIMATION