DEAR MUMMY FAMILY-
Well, my family increased by three last Thursday night. Jasi, Zoe and Sean arrived very small (around 3 ½ pounds) but very healthy. They're now in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where they will stay for the next month before coming home. Barbara is terrific and coming home from the hospital as I write this. It is truly the season of re-birth so happy Easter to you all.
There's more good news on The Mummy front: I have shown the film to the exec's at Universal and they are through-the-roof ecstatic. We screened a few weeks ago for all the relevant department heads (home video, distribution, foreign, p.r., marketing, etc.) and the reaction was unanimous. It's running around 1 hr. 53 minutes and, daily as we hone, it's taking its final shape. The studio has been very collaborative and supportive. You know they love it when they ask you if you need any more money to enhance the visual effects budget!!! Are there more shots that I want to do but didn't have the money to do?!!! Of course, the answer is yes; there is never enough to entertain the audience in any film. That kind of support from Chairmen Marc Shmuger and David Linde, President Donna Langley, and V.P.'s Jeff Kirschenbaum and Erik Baiers is rare in Hollywood so I am very pleased all the way around.
Still more good news: the studio's marketing department headed by Adam Fogelson, Eddie Egan, and Frank Chiocchi cut a cool teaser trailer and debuted it at Showest in Vegas week before last and it played off the chart to 2000 cigar chomping guys who own all the theaters in the United States. Some of the effects in it were temp so I am now polishing them up so it can be released in theaters soon.
I will premiere the piece here on my blog so you guys who have been so supportive to me through the entire process will get first crack at it. Of course, I will be very open to your reactions and hope that you will be as excited by it as I am.
I am moving the film's completion down field on many fronts: Bruce Stambler is deep in the sound design; Randy is writing the score which is big, colorful, thematic, and going to be recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, a choral section, various Chinese and Tibetan instruments, Tibetan over-toning monks, and more at Abbey Road in London starting in mid-May. We have begun the long laborious process of ADR (dialog replacement) with all the principal actors. When you are on the set recording sound very often the tracks are polluted by wind and snow machines, engines, or in our case once, a huge sand storm. All the dialog in these cases has to be replaced with perfect matches to the lip synch of the original. Dialog editor Becky Sullivan and I start with Michelle Yeoh tomorrow after she flies in from Malaysia. Really looking forward to seeing her queenly presence again. The visual effects are a constant struggle but, pixel by pixel, DD, R & H and I carve out our successes. There are around 1100 vfx shots in the film and, as of now, I have final'd only 100. This sounds disastrous, but the majority of the time is spent on the minority of effects and the ever-increasing momentum of the pipelines usually carries the day. It always gets nasty near the end. Our Academy Award-winning sound mixers, Gary Summers, Scott Milan, and Dan Leahy will start the beginning of May on the pre-dubs.
Eventually, all these strands will weave into one movie. There are over 400 people working on the film at this phase and each has only one thing in heart every day: how to make The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor the very best viewing experience for you guys it can be.
Todd Grossman and I have put together a webisode on visual effects to give you the feel of what we are up to (without giving too much away!) and this will air this week.
I know there have been big gaps in communication but I think you can see the complexity of time commitments involved plus, when the swells come, I have to get out there into the break to catch a few waves, if for nothing else, to preserve my sanity. Some say I am not achieving that goal but what the hell...
Bye-bye, for now....