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Comic-Con 09: Live Blog from 9 Panel

by nathanbloch   July 24, 2009 at 5:56PM  |  Views: 118

We're shown the trailer to 9, which wasn't anything new. The director, Shane Acker, walks onstage and takes a seat. We're told that this is Acker's first feature film, and then the great Tim Burton takes the stage to cheering and applause.

Timur Bekmambetov takes the stage, and then Elijah Wood steps on, followed by Jennifer Connelly. Pretty crazy line-up.

Acker says the characters are "stitch punk."

"It's a retro-futuristic world they live in -- it's the bits and pieces of that world that their world is made of."

"What's interesting about the world," Acker says, "is we don't explain very much. We just throw you into the world." 

Acker discusses how the characters have to discover what happened to the humans before them in order to better understand their own existence.

Burton says, "You don't see a lot of personal films that are animated." He goes on, "When I saw Shane's characters with no eyeballs, I thought I could fight those battles. I thought I could try and help him make his film." He talks about how he fought some similar battles as Acker faced when he made The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Elijah Wood says of his own character, "He sees that there are other characters like him trapped in this fear-based hierarchy." He talks about questioning the machines that are ruling the world and questioning their power.

We're shown a clip from the film. One of the stitch characters defeats an animal-bot, only for her group to be confronted by an even larger, more dangerous robot. The action is fast-paced and exciting. The crowd was pleased.

Acker discusses how the film isn't just for kids since it's rated PG-13. He says, "Body language lets you know who these characters are and how they're feeling."

"When I was involved with it in Disney it was not a good time to be in animation," Burton said about now being a good time to begin working in animation. "There's still a lot of stop-motion being done, and what Shane's doing, there's a lot of great stuff being done."

Burton is asked whether he's ever going to go back to Ripley's Believe It or Not, to which he says, "Believe it or not, no."

Acker is asked whether the character work animation he did in Return of the King helped him with 9. Acker says, "When we went about making the creatures for this film, we were trying to make creatures that were interesting and unique but somehow familiar." He says, "We made some animators very very angry with us, but in the end it was incredible what we were able to make."

Timur is asked by the moderator whether or not Wanted 2 is on the way, and he says the story is being worked on. Timur has a large presence onstage with only a few words.

"I was very fortunate to work with Danny Elfman," Acker says of working on the score for 9

Jennifer Connelly is asked about her experience doing voice-over work, to which she says, "No, I've never done voice over work." She says, "When I saw the short film I thought it was so beautiful, that it was so creative, that Shane was such an artist. He had created this unbelievable, fierce heroine, and I really had a great time working on it."

Acker talks about how many of his classmates worked on the film with him. He then discusses how dramatic, serious animated work doesn't do well in the box office. He talks about how the fact that the film is animated is less important than the story itself, and that the audience at Comic-Con has a lot of control over whether or not it does well.

Burton was asked what someone has to do to work for him, to which he responds, "Well, you should ask other people whether that's such a great job." He continues, "If you have stories you want to tell... just be passionate in what you do." He also talks about how it's important to have luck on your side. 


"You don't see something like this [a personal animated movie] come off too often," Burton says of 9. "It's not a business, it's an art form, and this just show's that to be the case, and it's great."

Acker says the film took four years to complete, from start to finish.

Wood says finding how to play his character involved collaborating with Acker. He says creating his character was a work over time, and that an animated film provides the time needed to develop a character.

Source: Focus Features