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Thunderbirds Commentary

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Hi, I'm Jonathan Frakes,|the alleged director of Thunderbirds.
This title sequence was designed and created|by a company called Nexus
here in London
who got famous for the Catch Me If You Can titles.
What we had found, after testing the film|a couple of times,
was that the audience
didn't feel it had the right to enjoy the playfulness
until about eight minutes into the picture.
So the brief to Nexus was,|find a way, in the title sequence,
to let the audience know|that it will be playful, kid-friendly
and, for people who have no idea|what the Thunderbirds are,
perhaps to introduce the ships,
to introduce the concept of International Rescue.
Also introduce the colour palette -
the primary colours were huge|in John Beard's concept
as well as in Gerry Anderson's original.
The primary colours were essential.
So that sense of fun, that sense of movement|that is in the film,
I think they captured very effectively.
And this, Sir Ben Kingsley's eyeball,
appears later in the picture.
The late, great Mary Selway cast this picture.
You'll hear the original theme music.
For fans of the show I think the theme|and the countdown
were as iconic and memorable|as the palm trees folding down
and the swimming pool retracting.
Lady Penelope and Parker|are planted in your mind here
if you don't know who they are.
You'll see this car in a flashback|to what you saw in the titles.
The Academy Award-winning Marty Walsh.
And here's John Beard.
In this title sequence,|we also wanted to establish Alan,
who you just saw being dropped off at school,
as a loner, not a member of the team.
So there were a number|of important bits of information,
tonally and thematically,|that we wanted to get across.
The primary purpose - no pun intended -
was to let the audience know|that this is a family action adventure fantasy.
Of course, it's directed by -|look at that - Jonathan Frakes.
Here we are at the Wharton Academy,|Massachusetts -
actually Bushey Studios, North London.
This opening sequence replaced|what was in the original script
which was a motorbike chase|featuring these two guys, Alan and Fermat.
Again, through testing,
we discovered that not only|was the motorbike chase
not establishing him as a loner|and not a member of the team
and someone who wanted to be a Thunderbird,
it established him as, perhaps,|the coolest kid in school on the fastest bike.
So it defeated the purpose|of what we wanted to do for the next two hours.
Hence, this opening,
where he fantasises about being a Thunderbird,
he hears about the missions|his family are participating in
and he's stuck at school.
Nice toupee on the headmaster. Beautifully cast.
The teacher sets us up with just the right tone|at the beginning of the picture,
you can tell that it's going to be a fun film
because of the arch approach|she takes to the scenes.
This happens to be my beautiful wife,|Genie Francis, as the newscaster.
Our two heroes here,|Brady Corbet and Soren Fulton,
make up two-thirds of the team|that the movie is built around.
We cast in America for the three kids
and we saw over 3,000 actors|and ended up with these three wonderful leads.
Here, we see the work of Framestore|for the first time.
Framestore, the visual effects house,|who did all of our 680 opticals.
Most significantly, I think, these spaceships|are all computer generated
and the lighting, the texture,|the interaction with the water,
the waves, the lightning,|I think is quite phenomenal actually.
We started in preproduction with them,
designing the movement, the colours|and the shape of the ships.
Our producers, Mark Huffam and Tim Bevan,
wisely decided that,|contrary to the way things are usually done,
the art department|and the visual effects department
would be housed in the same building|and start on the film at the same time.
So that, in preproduction,
we were able to collaborate, as I mentioned,
on the design, movement, colour, size, scope
of all the five Thunderbirds,
which are characters|in the picture as much as these actors are,
and FAB 1, which is Lady Penelope's car.
I think, interestingly, this oil rig rescue
is a great combination of CG, complete CG ships,
a model shoot|on a one-tenth scale model of the oil rig,
separate pyrotechnic elements -
the fire elements were enhanced|at a second shoot.
CG rain as well as live rain on the set.
The cockpits were sets,|obviously the exteriors were all CG.
So it's a great meeting|of lots of filmmaking techniques
that hopefully no one in the audience|will ever see where the edges are.
There, in that scene,|we hope to have introduced the Thunderbirds,
who our heroes aspire to be.
Good, cheap, adolescent humour.
In comes our leading lady.
Originally we designed a shot|in which she walked into the room
and brought her own light, magically.
Certain people thought better of that concept|so we have this entrance.
But she looks fabulous -|Marit Allen designed her clothes.
Marit Allen is our costume designer
and, appropriately,|was the editor of vogue in the '70s,
when Lady Penelope was all things Chanel.
Here we are at Wellington College,|where we pretended these kids went to school.
Now the great introduction of FAB 1.
This is actually the only Thunderbird that we built
that actually worked.
It's a 28-foot, pink, six-wheeled,|450-horsepower limousine,
designed by John Beard's team|in collaboration with Ford -
you can see the brand on the front.
The original Rolls-Royce in|Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds was a Rolls
but, for some reason,|Rolls thought better than to get involved.
One of the great CG shots|as this engine comes out.
Mike McGee and Mark Nelmes,|the visual effect supervisors,
were with us from day one,
and with Beard, who's a production designer,
we all decided that the ships,
particularly FAB 1, would have a certain logic.
So that the boot, or the trunk if you're in America,
would be big enough|to conceivably house a jet engine
and that under the car|there could be telescopic wings.
So it wouldn't be by magic|that this thing turned into a plane
but there would be a certain logic|in which the design was rooted.
And there's the theme.
Hans Zimmer,|the Academy Award-winning composer,
very tastefully peppered the Thunderbirds theme|through the picture,
four, five, six times so it's not overkill
but you're reminded and I think|it underlines the entrances of the ships.
Bill Paxton as Jeff Tracy, perfectly cast.
Quintessential American hero,|big Hollywood movie star,
and recognised as an astronaut.
And here we introduce Sir Ben Kingsley|as The Hood.
What a blessing to have an actor of this quality|in a family picture.
When he was offered the part,|he came to meet me.
The big movie stars, they're offered a part
based on a meeting|with the director or the producer.
So he came into the room...
He and Patrick Stewart,|who I've worked with on Star Trek,
are good mates from the RSC
and have a certain similarity in appearance,|I think you might agree.
He said he'd been doing roles|that were so emotionally taxing
that he was happy to take on a lighter tone -|again with the tone -
that he was happy to come in and play The Hood
because it was a family picture.
But more importantly,|as he admitted to me later,
his sons Edmund and Ferdinand|really encouraged him to play The Hood.
The most aspirational moment|in the movie, we hope.
"I wish that was me," is basically our theme.
He wants to grow up and be a Thunderbird.
Anyway, back to Sir Ben Kingsley.|He brought a certain gravitas to the entire picture
and ending up having a ball|playing The Hood as you'll see.
Anthony Edwards, best known|as Dr Greene from ER -
sporting a really fine toupee, as you'll notice -
was, again, so tired of|playing the character for eight seasons,
who was massively depressed,|who had lost patients, who had died of cancer,
that he was actively seeking a family picture
and I don't think any of us had any idea|what a wonderful comedian he is.
He also has four kids.
Here's our eager blue-eyed star, Brady Corbet.
A late add,
the retainer line, which becomes a plot point later.
These kids are great - Philip Winchester,|Dominic Colenso and Ben Torgerson -
three of the four Tracy brothers|than Alan aspires to join.
Here's a perfect example of additional dialogue|added later that enhances the story.
You can see on these sets|that John Beard and his team
were really unafraid of the use of colour
and the '60s were a period where -
Thunderbirds theme on the phone -|the '60s were a period
where modernism was part|of the design concept of cars, houses, clothes.
So this 2004 version of Thunderbirds
lends itself very well|to the retro, modernistic approach.
The beautiful Sophia Myles.
Just a little kernel of a relationship developing.
Perhaps in the sequel we'll see more|of Jeff Tracy and Lady P.
This is vanessa Hudgens.
Absolutely charming, wonderful young actress
who plays the third in our trio of heroes.
"No, you wouldn't."
Here we go, the Panic Room shot.
Down into the cockpit of Thunderbird 1.
There they are.
Good time to mention Brendan Galvin,|our wonderful director of photography,
also, as you can see,|completely unafraid of colour.
He embraced early on, as did John Beard,
this concept of primary colours.
The ships not only would be painted these colours
but also the lights that we used on the actors|could also be, as you saw...
This is blue, this is Thunderbird 1.
When we get into Thunderbird 2 you'll see green.
Useful Companies did all these graphics|that we used as inserts through the film.
Here we go.
It's a plot point.
Exactly what I was thinking.
And who is that connected to?
Again, Framestore with the fabulous added sunset.
The essential father-son setup scene.
The coming of age is very big in this film.
Well played by both actors.
Frustration of a teenager
and the frustration of a single dad|trying to raise five boys.
In the history of Thunderbirds,
the story is that Jeff Tracy's wife|died tragically in an avalanche.
And here he clearly wishes|she was around to help him out.
Beautiful musical cue by Zimmer.
Now, phone call from space.
Lex Shrapnel. Get a load of this hair, very Billy Idol.
A bold choice.
But it did differentiate him|from the other Tracy brothers.
Again, hard to believe that's computer generated,|Thunderbird 5, the space station.
On constant alert.
Wonderful young actor whose father is in Troy,
a well-established English stage and film actor.
These kids were so excited|about playing Thunderbirds
that it was contagious.
And when Paxton came,
he took all the boys who played his sons to dinner.
Great set extension if you see under here -
it feels like you're inside hundreds of yards|of missile silo
but in fact all we have is those two front legs.
Paxton took all the boys out
and helped me immensely
because that relationship|between actors and their roles
was enhanced by virtue of Paxton
euphemistically putting his arms round|all these other guys
and acting as if he was their father.
They were eager to be with him|because he's a big movie star and a great guy
and he was eager to be with them
because he wanted|to make this relationship believable
and I was the one who got to benefit.
Paxton, Tony Edwards, Sir Ben -
so incredibly filmmaker-friendly - Ron Cook,
because they've had great experience,
they're consummate professionals,|they're old school.
They come to the set in the morning, ready to work
and they stay on the set until they're called.
And it's a real treat to be around.
Two men in blue glasses who stutter.|Who'd have thunk it?
There's a crab that didn't cooperate very often|but I did get him in the shot.
Here's the beautiful Seychelles islands|on a good day.
They weren't all quite like this.
But as you can see from the sand|and from the azure blue sea,
after much scouting,
I think we chose the right location.
We originally went to Cape Town
and worked up the South African coast to Durban.
We then checked out the beaches in Australia|and went to Lord Howe Island,
which is about 300 miles off the coast of Sydney.
Here are The Hood's sidekicks.
Transom, the beautiful Rose Keegan,
and Mullion, Deobia Oparei.
Wonderful sidekicks, I think.
Again, tone, tone, tone.
Scary, yet not terrifying.
Physically varied
and, again, the use of light and colour.
This is the inside of The Hood's sub.
And the first example of The Hood's mind power.
"Commence targeting." Here we go.
Big plot point, very well conceived|by Will Osborne and Mike McCullers.
Take the heroes,
get them effectively off camera
miles away in space and yet,|keep them in jeopardy without killing them.
Action,
stunts,
yet nobody dies - not particularly violent.
Now the movie kicks into another gear.
Zimmer's music helping us out.
Brendan helping us out.
We made a pact early on|never to let the camera stop.
And then Marty Walsh, our editor,
followed the same orders.
These portraits of the kids, again,|are part of the iconography of the original show.
Fans of Thunderbirds will appreciate|this updated version of the portraits
and those uninitiated with Thunderbirds,|I think, will think of them as a cool device.
My personal favourite takeoff,
Thunderbird 3, the big red rocket|that takes you to the space station.
Get a load of this shot right here.
Patently stolen from Apollo 13
and yet even better as the camera leaves the ship.
Good question.
Again, the Seychelles islands didn't cooperate|quite as well as we had hoped -
we arrived on location|with a film crew of around 200 people,
actors raring to go,
and itjust poured rain for days and days
and we stood under these tip-ups,
watching the rain drip away|our money and our schedule.
With the wisdom of Tim Bevan|and the generosity of Universal Pictures
we were allowed to stay until|we got the weather we'd come for
and I think it was well worth the wait.
Because it adds a wonderful|additional element to the picture.
These shots are gorgeous, 3 and 5 together.
Well-cut sequence as well.
Anyway, in the casting of these three heroes,
Mary Gail Artz, who worked with me|on Clockstoppers,
did the casting in the States|and she literally saw about 3,000 people.
I came back to LA for a weekend
and we had a workshop|with about a hundred actors on Saturday.
From that hundred we cut it down|to about 40 on Sunday.
And on Sunday we mixed and matched
certain Alans with certain Tintins|and certain Fermats.
Then we sort of boiled this down|to about nine or ten actors,
two or three actors for each part.
And from that we found
what I think was a combination|of the three best actors for the parts
and also the three best chemically.
They played as if they were friends.
You believed that they could live|on this island and...
It really... We were very lucky|that we got our first choices for all these parts.
We were lucky with them.|We offered the part to Paxton, he took it,
we offered the part to Sir Ben, he took it
and we offered the part to Tony Edwards -|he took it.
We were blessed with good casting|and that's about 80 per cent of it.
Here's an interesting example of set extension.
What really existed here was that car front,
which was another Ford product placement,|and the steps.
The rest of that is all set extension,|all drawn in the computer.
Here we are, back at Pinewood.
Get a load of the sound design.
That's gotta hurt.
Glenn Freemantle, our sound designer -|an absolute genius.
Again, given the brief that what we needed to do|was create a tone...
almost a comic book tone. There are|frying pan jokes here, there's neck cracking.
There's some wonderful stuff in this sequence,
where the sound helped us keep the tone light.
Here's the plot point.
This whole sequence was challenging
in that we have three sets, essentially,|to keep alive.
Jeff's office|turns into the Command and Control Centre.
The kids have just crawled into the vents|with the hope of saving the day
and Jeff and the boys are trying to survive|in outer space on Thunderbird 5.
So in this reel of the film,
we have to keep the audience informed|of where our three stories are taking place
and yet intercut them in a way that's not confusing.
Here we took the opportunity
to poke a little fun at the original Thunderbirds,|as you'll see.
Shameless laugh!
Again, you can see how the sound design|helped the visual effects design.
The cat eyes, that we put in in postproduction,
obviously, were to|signal when The Hood was using his powers.
We gave that optical to Glenn Freemantle
and what he did was create the signature sound.
So even if it happens off camera, later in the film,
you'll understand what it is|because you've referenced it a few times.
This sequence is virtually created|from smoke and mirrors.
Most of these changeovers were CG.
The desktops rising up... The only thing|that really happened was the floor spun.
But you'd never know it.
And any moment, Jack...
Meanwhile, back on Thunderbird 5...
which was like shooting on the Enterprise,
complete with sparks, explosions,|constant wind machines, fire...
So it had all the charm of shooting the Enterprise
after being attacked by Klingons.
We introduce yet another character.
Tintin's father and mother...
Tintin's father happens to be The Hood's brother.
Great reading.
So offhand. So unpredictable.
It was that kind of work.
Sir Ben had an approach that...
a lot of confident, experienced actors
will share with you|if they feel comfortable and generous.
He would say to me after I'd print a take,
"If you've got a print, do you mind if I play?"
The idea of watching an actor of this calibre play|was quite a treat.
My job was just to point the camera|in the right direction.
And from this "play", as he referred to it,
we found this wonderful, mad version of The Hood,
who had a physicality|that was offbeat and strange -
vocalisation,|vocal rhythms that were unpredictable.
Look at this little performance.
Soren Fulton - wonderful actor. 11, 12...
Like this. Get a load of this move.
Absurd and yet appropriate.
OK, so we've got the Tracys...
in jeopardy in space.
I always cut with the explosions.
What was that?
Look out...
Added dialogue -|"We can get through to the silos".
Again, it was not clear|where they were going, so it's...
It's very interesting how you can clarify a story
by adding dialogue off camera|while you're on someone else's shot.
Mullion leaving with his two henchmen -
two very, very patient stuntmen|who were with us throughout the picture.
Big crane shots. Beautiful set.|This is one of our biggest sets at Pinewood.
John Beard again -|not afraid of scale, colour, size...
We were lucky enough to get the crane in here|so you can get some extreme angles.
Now here's a missed shot.
The reference is two ships|that we never see in a clean shot.
By the time we realised that,|the Firefly and the Thunderizer had been...
Actually, the set had been torn down, so...
But here we introduced them.
This is one of the great aspirational sections|of the picture
where our three heroes take over|these fabulous bits of kit that actually work.
Inside this Firefly there is a driver hidden
who's driving off of a video screen.
There's a camera in the front of the Firefly|that can see where he's going
and there's a guy lying on his stomach|at the controls
watching a videoscreen, choreographing|his movements around the Thunderizer,
which also has a driver hidden inside|behind where Alan's sitting.
There's a great gag.
6,000 gallons of dyed green foam
that actually was projected from the Firefly.
A great credit to Paul Corbould|and his special effects team
as well as coordinated with Paul Jennings,|our stunt coordinator.
To make that work, they rehearsed it|and rehearsed it, showed it to me on videotape
and by the time we showed up on set,|they were good to go
and it worked. I wish we had more of it.
Little shades of John Hughes - Home Alone.
Bad guys flopping around in foam.|Always good for a laugh.
Notice the Thunderbird|in the background of that shot.
All kinds of little references.
Here we are in Thunderbird 1 silo.
John Beard, again, was not only|a creative designer, but very, very practical.
In this set, we weren't...
Great shot. Hood magically appears|behind the door.
Watch closely and you see the reflection|on both sides of this coverage.
You can see The Hood in Alan's shot|and Alan in The Hood's shot.
Yeah, like a floating ghost, the head.
Anyway, Beard...
because of budgetary restrictions,|was only able to design the floor of this.
I said, "But if we're gonna believe|that the missile's in there
"something has to hang from the ceiling
"so that the audience understands|that we're underneath this missile."
So Beard said, "Don't worry about it."|He went and stole from Peter to save Paul
and found a way to build bits of the set
that suggested the bottom of Thunderbird 1.
One of our rare Steadicam days.
Sir Ben's fabulous as The Hood.
Set extension again. Nothing above them.
Bit of the gadgetry introduced earlier.|Now put to good use.
Hopefully every kid around the world|will have a stone thrower in his pocket
by the time this DvD comes out.
Again, great combination of practical stunts,
actors on rollers, on wires,
postproduction pyrotechnics,
sound effects, music,
great editing, lighting
and
where are they?
I think that's the sequence in the film|that gave us the PG rating.
For some reason, people aren't thrilled|about putting kids in jeopardy.
A lot of debate over Mullion's laugh.
I happened to think it was wonderful.|Therefore, it stayed in.
The Hood gets weak when he uses his powers,|as Brady will observe later.
We wisely, I think, sort of set it up.|What does that mean?
Back to the Seychelles on a beautiful day.
This is on the isle of Praslin. Anse Lazio beach.
The tourists who had paid good money|to come to the Seychelles
weren't too thrilled about us closing their beach
but people never like it|when you film on their property.
In the schedule|it was decided that we would go to location first.
I think, in hindsight, we all realised that|it's hard enough to make a movie.
It's harder to make one on location.
It's even harder to make one on location with kids.
It's even harder to make one on location|with kids and visual effects,
so what we will do on the next one,|if there is one, is shoot simpler stuff first on sets
with a limited number of visual effects.
And as the team gets to know each other,
the pace at which the machine moves
becomes better and better oiled.
By starting in the Seychelles|in the middle of the Indian Ocean, on the equator
with 200 people, some of whom had never met...
It takes time...
It takes... Things need to gel.
So I think we would have reversed it -|shot on the sets and then finished on location.
This is the beautiful Cliveden manor,|the home of the Astors, outside of London,
which we were lucky enough|to get as the location for
Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward's mansion.
Again, colour. Get a load of this set.
Ron Cook.
Perhaps the most physically like|the marionette that he is playing.
When we were auditioning actors,|it was one of the...
One of the real treats was|that there were eight or ten actors
who could have played Parker wonderfully.
And Ron Cook somehow nailed it,
not only with his acting and his timing|and his accent
but he looks so much like Parker the marionette
that it was a no-brainer.
One of my favourite lines -
"A volcanic eruption in Jakarta..."
Time for Lisa Lowe, played by Genie Francis.
Ford - product placement! Here's a reshoot.
Ford said their cars didn't feature enough|so we had to go back on location.
Actually, this is at Pinewood.
We put in a couple more red Fords|to satisfy their product-placement contract.
Here's one of the moments|from the original show -
the teapot sending the signal to Tracy Island.
Shameless performance by Tony Edwards.
Here's one of the creatures|in the vallée de Mai on Praslin.
Lots of spiders down there.
These kids were real troupers,|slogging through the jungle. 100-degree heat.
Poor Brady had a wardrobe|that had him in jeans and a long-sleeved jacket.
So he suffered heatstroke|while we were shooting.
We stopped production for a day|because he was exhausted and dehydrated.
Other members of the crew as well|went down with heatstroke.
Very glamorous profession, filmmaking.
But a beautiful jungle.
Ron Cook with the pink suspenders,|pink cuff links, pink socks.
Here we go,|three Thunderbirds in the front of Cliveden.
Somewhere in that shot, it turns from the real car
to a computer generated version|so we can add the engine and the takeoff.
The Mole.
A favourite bit of Thunderbird kit,|particularly in Japan.
The Mole, the Firefly and the Thunderizer,|which we saw earlier
were actually built by Graham Kelly|and his team - special vehicles.
And they all moved somewhat reluctantly
but they practically all moved|and we could shoot them for real
which was kind of a treat since so many of the|Thunderbirds' designs were added in post.
Very tight-moving close-up coming up.
Tough focus but Carlos holds it. There it is.
Focus puller's nightmare -
moving 200mm close-up.
A little light comedy by the kids.
Another good added line.|Now get a load of this scorpion.
There was a division of Framestore|that did creatures, mostly for commercials.
We were privileged to have them do|this wonderful scorpion...
and hundreds and hundreds of oversized wasps
which appear later in the picture.
Great shot. Again, enhanced by sound, music,
to make it scarier than the picture itself.
And it's revealed...
Tintin, as the niece of The Hood,|has the same powers.
And you can bet|that'll come back later in the picture!
It's all spelled out because it's a kids' picture,|you wanna make sure everybody understands.
This shot is from a scene|that used to be in the picture
where The Hood was meditating|to re-juice his powers.
And instead of looking at who was at the door
we decided that he had timed|yet another explosion on Thunderbird 5.
So we discovered a way|to keep that great shot of The Hood
and also keep us abreast of|what was going on on Thunderbird 5.
This is a Ford EX,
which was a nonproduction vehicle|that they gave us the privilege of using.
They sent over someone from Detroit to protect it|while we had it in the Seychelles,
so it was a 4x4 that we were told not to roll,
not to drive fast and, if possible, not to get dirty,
which seemed somewhat absurd.
This is called Zimbabwe Hill, on the isle of Praslin,
where we created this satellite station.
Mysteriously shaped like a palm tree.
The helicopter shot was done|at the crack of dawn with three stuntmen
before anybody else woke up.
Great business. We set up the retainer|obviously early in the picture
but it was so cumbersome for Brady to speak with
that we decided to find a way to have him add it
only after his father commented|that he wasn't wearing it.
Otherwise we'd have had|that opening sequence with the retainer
and his diction would have been difficult at best.
Great publicity shot of the five Tracys|all lined up at the workstation.
Look at the colour grading now on Tony's face.
The colour drains out of his face magically.
There was much debate|whether to keep this scene
but we all loved Rosie and Tony together|so much that it was decided
that the picture could hold a little levity at this point.
They're both so great. Here we go.
The character of Transom's|always so eager to please.
Here his colour comes back.
All done in postproduction in the grading suite.
Here we are back in the Seychelles.
Whip pans.
I think this is the day|that the heat exhaustion finally hit Brady.
We were lucky to get this scene.
It's odd, the Seychelles|is a beautiful destination, a gorgeous resort,
and yet clearly|there are not many films made there,
so we chartered flights in|for the crew, cast and equipment.
And we hired locals to help us out|in the different departments.
But people actually had to machete a path|up to this location
so that the art department|could mount this satellite station.
Then we had to machete|another path down to a dirt road,
then cut to a river so we could bring the cast|and crew up in four-wheel drive vehicles.
All to get this wonderful|isolated top of the island.
Yeah.
Here we go. And the chase begins.
Hans Zimmer helping us out yet again.
Good stunt coming up here, I think.
We cut from the actors to the stuntmen,
and we have a wire-cam actually in that sequence
where the camera moves with the actors|through the jungle.
Stuntmen obviously fall into this pool|and the actors pop up.
Classic act two chase sequence,
I think with a twist.
Now here is a bit of kit|that was invented for the film.
This is a hoversled.
We hoped it wouldn't look too much like Star Wars|and yet would remind people of other films
that use these same kind of toys.
This is a funny sequence.|This wasps' nest was practical
and we tried to time it|so it would drop into Deobia's hand,
as you're about to see,
and it was filled with plaster.
So it gave it a sense of explosion as it collapsed.
And all of the CG wasps,|which are wonderfully oversized,
were created by the same team|that did the scorpion earlier on.
This set is actually in the backlot at Pinewood,
dressed with greens, ferns, et cetera.
And the area that looks like a garage|that he's working in
is a rebuilt section of the really big refrigerator,
which you'll see in the next reel.
So it wasn't the monstrous budget|of some action-adventure pictures
so we had to reuse bits of set.|Again, John Beard, very clever.
Arguably the best acting moment in the film|for these kids.
Brady slips up and makes fun|of his friend's stutter.
And it really stops your heart.
And then Soren stands up to him.
Alan doesn't apologise, and we're off.
Very nice moment in the middle of all this action.|Get a load of that wasp on his face.
Peter King, who did the makeup,
has book-end Academy Awards|from Lord Of The Rings.
He created those great welts|that are on Mullion's face.
This poor guy, in the Seychelles,|dressed in black from head to toe,
with armour in 120-degree heat.
And didn't complain, God bless him.
A lot of these shots are totally combs.
Combinations of green screen,
in which the kids were on wires on this hoversled,
plate shots from the Seychelles that we sped up,
and then additional foreground material,
to make it feel as if they were moving|twice as fast.
And here the wasps followed him|through the jungle.
The same day we had the helicopter -|we had it for one day,
we used it there as well as satellite hill.
Here's the refrigerator.|Again, Brendan with the blue light.
Liquid nitrogen pumped in|through the different parts of the set
to get a sense of cold.
And Peter King put paraffin, which is...
Or paraffin-type makeup|on people's eyelashes and eyebrows,
and took all the colour out of their faces|with a very, very light pancake
so that it didn't look|as if there was any blood in their faces.
And naturally the acting made a difference.
As you just saw,|FAB 1 turned magically from its days as a jet
into a hydrofoil.
There used to be a sequence in the film
where The Hood and Transom|fire torpedoes from their helicopter
and turn that hydrofoil into a wonderful pedalo.
Unfortunately it was cut out of the picture
but we were able to maintain just a taste of it,
which you'll see as the credits start to roll.
Here's Jeff Tracy attempting|to keep up the morale of his family.
Paxton's great.
He has some very|on-the-nose expositional dialogue.
And he manages to do it|with real conviction and honesty.
Here we go. We're going into this fight sequence
that was choreographed by Paul Jennings,
with the help of Paul Corbould,|who was the special effects...
practical special effects team.
Lady Penelope, Sophia Myles,|has two stunt doubles,
in addition to the work she does herself.
She has a martial arts stunt double
and she has a gymnastics stunt double.
Parker, Mullion and Transom|are also doubled as well.
And the idea, in addition to having a fight|between the good guys and the bad guys,
was to have a good sense of fun
and show off these wonderful character traits.
Lady Penelope's incredibly fluid and lithe.
And then added to that|these little snippets of dialogue.
And here's the classic from the cartoon.
Shameless use of sound.
And a great credit again to Martin Walsh|who cut this all together,
to keep this thing going.
That line used to be, "Of course he had his palace,|why not his concubine?"
The studio thought kids wouldn't understand|what a concubine was, so we recut it,
so that The Hood calls her a princess,
which is somehow appropriate for Lady Penelope.
Great sequence. Weeks and weeks of rehearsal
with Paul and the doubles and the actors|while we were shooting other scenes.
We were shooting the stuff|on Thunderbird 5 on one stage
while Paul and the actors were rehearsing this
and then Des Whelan, our camera operator|and I would go over at the end of the day
and with a little video camera,|shoot what they had rehearsed
and get some sense of which shots|we would need when we actually filmed.
We were restricted - that shot, for instance,
we were restricted how often|we could look out over the ocean
because this was shot on a sound stage.
And each time we added an element -|in this case the ocean -
it cost x amount of dollars
because it's a blue screen shot|that then needed to be combed together
with computer generated ocean|and set extensions.
So we shot as much as we could|into the practical set,
the kitchen was practical,|the kitchen table was practical,
that arched ramp, obviously, was practical,
and the first swimming pool you see was practical.
So in staging this we tried to stay on the set|as much as possible.
Ron Cook's fabulous in this scene. Where|The Hood abuses him with his mind control.
A perfect example of how one actor|can help another out.
Cook selling the idea that The Hood|has incredible power over him.
What's The Hood doing there? Another great add -|"put me down, this outfit is couture!"
Now here's a sequence|that took some serious work.
There's a combination of|slow-motion photography,
gentlemen in rigs on sticks, on big poles,
floated in front of the camera,|the poles were erased in postproduction.
So each of these actors had to get fit|for what is essentially an armour plate
and attached to a pole|and then shot in front of a green screen.
Those individual elements were then cut into|the plates of the Thunderbird 5 set,
and we could move the actors,|the Tracy brothers, around in the shot.
In addition, Mark Nelmes,|who did this sequence,
created floating bits of debris that would've been|residue from the explosion,
we added the fire extinguisher,|which rolls toward us.
The oxygen mask and its unit that it's connected to
aren't entirely added in postproduction,
Paxton had to mime putting the mask|over his son, John's, face.
It was tedious shooting again,|planning and rehearsal, and patience.
And, again to Paxton's credit,
he had done so much|zero gravity work on Apollo 13
that he was able to help us
with some physical acting techniques
that, when we were tight,|we didn't have to go through all the rigmarole
of having people actually on these poles|that floated
that you could hopefully, if you were physically|adept enough,
float around and make the audience believe that|you were in zero G in your close-ups.
The Hood, obviously, has stolen|Thunderbird 2, it's about to take off.
But clever Lady P|uses her apparel, appropriately.
These sequences|between Lady P and Parker
were enhanced by the wonderful Richard Curtis,
who's a friend of Working Title|and came to our table read
which is the first reading of the script|after everyone has been cast,
before we start shooting.
And at the table read he heard|what was in the script.
Tim Bevan, our producer,|asked him to take a look,
at specifically the Parker, Lady P scenes.
This is the best example of it right here.
Another shameless use of sound.
Here we go. Here's the part Curtis...
A great treat to pepper comedy|into an action sequence,
in a family movie.
And it's those moments I think|that make audiences,
hopefully audiences leave the theatre saying,
"I enjoyed that, it wasn'tjust for the kids."
More added dialogue|to make it clear what they're doing.
Great use of inserts from Useful Companies.
Thunderbird 5 and Thunderbird 3
were the first sequences of visual effects shots|that were completed.
Because there were 680 shots|there was a schedule that needed to be met.
And for some reason 5 and 3|were early on the schedule
and the lighting and texturing|of those spaceships was so impressive
that it put all of us at ease with Framestore.
This had been their biggest project.
They had done bits of the Potter films before|and bits of Bond films
but this is the first film that they had|from beginning to end.
The project, 680 shots, is a very considerable|amount of visual effects work.
At one point we had 148 artists -
2-D artists, 3-D artists, producers,|special effects supervisors -
all working on Thunderbirds.
It was quite daunting to go over there|every morning and approve shots.
Again you can see the floating debris|that Nelmes added
to enhance the sense of zero gravity|and now we're back in real gravity.
So it was used sparsely|because it's so time-consuming to shoot
because of all the elements -|the green screens, the poles they need to float on,
the uncomfortable quality of the rig itself.
So what was originally in the script|five or six scenes,
was cut down to two or three scenes,|ultimately to good advantage.
Here comes Zimmer's heroic music.
Yeah, decision made, smiles all around.
Yeah.
Again, Paxton able to pull off|this heroic American...
Listen to this sound effect.
Who would believe that in a movie?|And there it is.
The blue, indicating we're going|into Thunderbird 1's silo.
Revisit the heroes' handclasp|and we're off into act three.
Great costume bit in the back.
Lady Penelope magically changes clothes,|virtually from set to set.
There's our homage to the original|with the strings on the hand.
Lady Penelope's character has a costume|for every set, a costume for every scene.
In the car scenes, where she's|taking the boys back from school,
you'll notice she changes clothes|two or three times
and here she just happens to have|an International Rescue spacesuit
that she must keep handily at Tracy Island|for an eventjust like this.
And with it comes|a pink matching headpiece.
But it's that kind of fantasy.
There's Mike McGee on the right,|one of the visual effects supervisors,
who managed to coerce me|into letting him be in the movie.
The first time ever a helicopter with a camera
was allowed to fly through the Tower Bridge.
Even the Bond movie couldn't pull that off.
But it didn't come easily.
In preproduction we had a meeting at BAFTA
where we invited all the corporations|involved in shooting this sequence.
They included|the police and fire department,
the Thames Commission, Westminster,
Tower Bridge and Jubilee Gardens|have their own commissions,
the London Eye -|the BA London Eye had a commission.
There were 13 commissions|gathered for breakfast
and, again, to credit Tim Bevan|and Mark Huffam, our producers.
Mark Nelmes, our other visual effects supervisor,
is the ice cream man,|sporting an original Thunderbirds hat.
Fortunately the only time|that hat is seen in the film.
He had the... Bevan and Huffam
had the good sense to involve all these|commissions in one room at once
to pitch to them what we wanted to do|in this sequence you're watching.
And the thinking being|that they would shame each other
into agreeing to do it.
And if anyone disagreed, the peer pressure|from the other committees
would be such that|they'd have to give in and relent,
and in fact they did.
Originally in the script we had suggested that|maybe the Mole,
which is coming out of Thunderbird 2,|as you can see,
would hit one of the supports|of the London Eye
and the London Eye would then|teeter over the Thames
and one of the pods|that people take their rides in
would be submerged and in jeopardy|for our heroes to then save.
Unfortunately, the London Eye|is a terrorist target,
given the unfortunate state of affairs|in the world today,
and they, the London Eye,|would not approve a script
that would put their property in jeopardy
or, obviously, suggest any way to get to it.
So this, what we euphemistically called|the Olympic Monorail,
since the picture was set in the future
and we assume the Olympics|will be in London,
the Olympic Monorail was created|inside the computer at Framestore.
And that was where the MacGuffin occurred.
So The Hood recklessly puts lives in jeopardy
and fortunately for them,
the new Thunderbirds|are just arriving on the scene.
There were two or three Sunday mornings|where these plate shots,
exterior shots of London, were done.
Sunday, obviously, the least crowded|and least complicated day to shoot
because not as many people are at work
or not as many tourists are at the Jubilee Gardens.
Nonetheless, it wasn't the easiest shoot,|and the weather didn't cooperate.
Most of the shots you see of London|in this end sequence
had the skies replaced with|glorious blue skies from elsewhere.
Here we are inside the Bank of London.
Get a load of that pink headpiece.
Here are shots stolen straight from Apollo as well.|ECU of the G-forces.
Not many shots of England from space.|There was one.
The theme of the movie restated.
As you can see, the big green megalith,
the workhorse - Thunderbird 2.
So our kids have flown Thunderbird 1|and Thunderbird 2.
The monorail crashes into the water,
another combination of a model shoot,|a shoot in the tank at Pinewood
with the practical stanchion,
and then an interior of the monorail|shot onstage with water seeping into it.
A very, very patient group of extras|who were on our monorail.
At one time there was discussion|that maybe Sylvia Anderson,
who was the original Lady Penelope, and I,
as someone who resembles|Commander Riker from Star Trek,
could be passengers inside the monorail,
but it became a scheduling nightmare
and I, thankfully, was spared that assignment.
This is the coast of Cornwall,
that Thunderbird 3 is rushing to the scene from.
Nice cut where the camera moves left to right.
Now, the Mole, which we saw|earlier in Thunderbird 2's silo,
has been moved to|another part of Pinewood Studios,
and actually built into the London vault set.
I think this end sequence|shows London in a wonderful light.
The worldwide recognition factor, if you will,
of Big Ben, the Tower Bridge,
the London Eye, the Thames, Jubilee Gardens,
Westminster Abbey,
is a wonderful location.
Shot of the teddy bear stolen from Spielberg.
The idea of placing|this third act set piece in London
was one of the motivating factors|for Tim and Working Title,
in that making Thunderbirds in England|was a no-brainer
but to actually use London as a set
so that the audience in England|would appreciate it
but also a part of London|that is known all over the world.
This is all computer generated,|those extended arms from Thunderbird 4.
I think this water sequence coming up, I love this.
She was wonderful in this.
That's her stunt double.
There's a double,|then in a tank in north London for this.
Here's a combination - stunt double, actress,
CG water out the window, CG air bubbles.
The stanchion was in the pit in north London.
Thunderbird 4 as an exterior never existed,
all we had was that cockpit|that the two kids lie in.
These bubbles|were added in postproduction.
Vanessa was a real trouper,
as was her stunt double,|to do this stuff in the tank.
But you really get a sense|that you are underwater
and one of the things that helps to sell it|is the wavy motion of the solid images
that you feel when|you open your eyes underwater,
things seem to float.
So here's another moment of love story.
So the team has come together|just in time for Dad to witness this.
So at this point in Jubilee Gardens in London
we have Thunderbird 1,|Thunderbird 2, Thunderbird 3,
Thunderbird 4, all in play.
An appropriate finale.
This series of shots|with Thunderbird 4 lifting the monorail
were added to our list of opticals.
Tim Bevan, again, wisely realised|that we needed to see the two ships,
we needed to see Thunderbird 4|rising the monorail to the surface.
And Thunderbird 4 had to be entirely|computer generated.
Great moment here.
The fans were down here on the walkway
enjoying watching Thunderbirds being shot.
It's great to shoot on location in a big city|if you have crowd control
because everybody's so enthusiastic|about seeing a movie made,
especially a movie like Thunderbirds,
which is such a big part of the culture in England.
He senses her.
Back focus.
And look at her - yet another outfit.|And the fabulous beehive hairdo.
The only gun we ever see in the movie|and it's never used.
I'd like to say we have none|but we do have one tiny derringer.
Very hard to make an action-adventure movie
without gratuitous violence and without guns.
I'm proud to say we did|a pretty good job on both counts.
Here's an important scene|that was originally much longer
but because we're driving|towards the end of the film
it needed to be cut down|to the essential moments.
Bill used to say she was FAB.
Seemed a little corny.|"She was a lot like you" plays better.
There we go. Now we get on to the ending.
Never understood what this next line meant.
But it sounds great.
Here we go, Parker's arrived on the scene.
Mysteriously, FAB 1,|which we thought we saw last on Tracy Island,
has resurfaced in London|from its special mews parking garage
down in Chelsea somewhere.
"Kill them all." Delicious performance|by Sir Ben as The Hood.
Listen to the sound.
Cook's timing is spectacular.
So again we have|the multi-set mise en scéne going on.
We've got these guys in the lobby,|which was shot weeks after the interior.
Doing a little bit of physical comedy.
And the Parker Haymaker,|set up earlier at the school, you may recall.
Postproduction camera shake put in|as Mullion hits the deck,
and the hat comes back.
So from the levity back to the heroes.
Good stunt coming up here.
A jerk in which the stuntman|is on an air ram wire
and gets pulled back.
Right past the lens.
And then Paxton takes the last bit|of the hit against the vault.
Again, Paxton, filmmaker friendly,
knows what bits of a stunt he needs to do|and he's happy to help out.
Again, stuntman yanked across the floor
and Brady rises from the depths.
This is a wonderful stunt.|Straight out of Crouching Tiger.
Paul Jennings,|a stunt coordinator with real style.
And conveniently|there's a gymnast bar in the vault!
The stuntgirl who did that spin on the bar
had to use gloves with rosin on,|as a gymnast does,
and Framestore,|as if they didn't have enough work,
had to erase the gloves, pixel by pixel, from|the shots so they would look like real hands
and then replace the gloves|with flesh-toned hands.
Brady is wonderful in this scene,
acting as if the air's being sucked out of him|by The Hood's magical powers.
Zimmer helping us out. Tintin to the rescue.
Now this is...
Framestore took the Mole pictures
and managed to find a way for us to believe
that those teeth actually spin.
Again, so much is in the subtleties.
You get a sense|that there is dust and particles flying off
and the sound design helps this immensely.
Here's a setup for the sequel.
The Hood realises, yes, she does in fact|have the same powers as him.
And, much to his chagrin...
Here's another example of wonderful acting.|This scene was written
as if Brady saves him.
So Ben played it as a taunt.
He dares Alan Tracy to save him,|knowing he will.
And it becomes a much more interesting scene.
He forces him to save his life
See? And they're satisfied knowing that he does.
A long day of shooting but well worth it.
This is the City College of London,|passing as the Bank of London.
On your right, cameo by you-know-who.
Trafalgar Square.
Another iconic British landmark.
And what we did here
was add the absurdity of Mullion|carrying his boss in his arms.
I thought it was visually more interesting
than having him|stagger down the stairs exhausted.
People were nervous but I think it worked well.
Beautiful sky replacement.
A set extension with a gorgeous sunset.
All we have in this set|is that little pool the kids are in.
And the rest has been all extended.
Yet again, Lady Penelope|has a new ensemble.
Fermat learns to swim.
Watch Tony Edwards milk this line.
Not many could pull that off.
Vanessa cleans up pretty nicely.
Again, Brendan lit this as if it was sunset
and it really pays off once you've seen|the wide shot with the sun setting.
You get that sense of gold on all these people,
that golden hour that we all know and love.
Four buff Thunderbirds|all lined up holding their stomachs in.
Hans Zimmer helping us out. Great.
Parker's business here we had to keep in.
So the script has lots of colour.
We have the straight, we have the comic,
the heroic, loyalty.
There's that familiar Thunderbirds theme.
"Madam President," obviously in the future.
And as we had all imagined,|he has come of age, he's joined the team.
We revisit some shots from earlier in the film
but because it's night they're relit|and, I think, look fabulous.
There's the pedalo.
And this is Busted,|the number one band in England,
singing Thunderbirds Are Go,|over which our credits run.
Thank you very much,|I hope you enjoyed the show.
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