Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson: The Titans Behind 'The Adventures of Tintin'

 Joe Pugliese

In an exclusive interview in Paris, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson reveal the secrets behind their first-time working relationship and the ambitious $140 million project that brings a beloved comics character to the big screen.

How much was Peter present during the shoot?

Spielberg: Every day he was there on teleconference, on what we called a "polycom" [nicknamed the "Poly Kong" by the cast and crew], sort of a big iChat system. Peter would get up at 3:30 a.m. for our 8 a.m. call from New Zealand to Los Angeles. He could see everything.

Jackson: I was on-set in Los Angeles for the first week and got a pipeline running, then I had to go back. But I would get up when it was dark in my jammies still. It's like a fantasy, to film in your pajamas!

Spielberg: Once -- it was very funny -- there was a moment where we were rehearsing the actors and Peter had just come down about 4 a.m. his time and I wanted to consult with him about a change in dialogue. And there was Peter on the monitor and I said, "Peter?" And Peter was sort of sitting there, but his eyes were closed. I said, "Peter! Wake up!" And he didn't move. And I got right into the microphone, and I said, "PETER!" -- and Peter just very calmly looked up and said, "Yes?"

Jackson: I was deep in thought!

Did you turn to him a lot for advice?

Spielberg: We collaborated on this one. It's my only experience of having a producer who's mainly a director with me in creative spirit every day, consulting on almost everything. It was like the Coen brothers, I guess. Perhaps that's how they work together.

When you're shooting, do you ever feel uncertain or insecure and want to turn to someone else for advice?

Spielberg: Of course. All the time. And most of the time I turn to the actors because I get my best ideas from them.

What were you most uncertain about here?

Spielberg: We kept changing the script all through the shoot. We had an entire subplot we cut out. We shot it to thicken the plot because the plots in all the Herge books are very easy to understand, and we tried to overly complicate them but realized that Herge was right and we were wrong, and we went back to Herge's initial instincts.

Do you identify with anyone in the movie?

Spielberg: I do. I identify with Tintin.

Jackson: I probably identify with Haddock.

Spielberg: Well, you played him so well in the test!

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