Today, I grabbed lunch with Tommy Pallotta at Cafe Mundi (try the vegetarian enchiladas). But when I went to meet up with Tommy at Detour Filmproduction, he gave me the tour of the current operations for the post-production animation process of A Scanner Darkly. Tommy is overseeing the very complicated animation process for the upcoming Richard Linklater adaptation of the book by Philip K. Dick, to be released next year by Warner Independent Pictures. See the early teaser trailer here.
Like with Sin City, I visited this set during principal photography. So to see the incredibly textured revisions made in post-production is a trip. Tommy’s team of 50 animators working full-time have crafted something amazing. The attention to detail is beyond description. The first thing to compare it to, obviously, would be Tommy and Rick’s last big collaboration, Waking Life. But, this is different. Whereas Waking Life was about dialogue and seldom featured more than two-shots, A Scanner Darkly is a rich narrative with many characters and a lot of action. This makes the animation much more intricate and the visual translation much more impressive.
Plus, in the footage I saw today, it’s apparent that the animation is working around some great performances. Most of what I saw featured great scenes between Robert Downey Jr. and Rory Cochrane. And it’s a credit to both Tommy’s team and the actors, in that the performances and the animation co-exist in a marvelous manner. In short, I can’t wait to see the whole thing. And you can’t wait, either. It’s gonna be unlike anything anyone has ever seen. I remember when we screened Waking Life during SXSW in 2001, I mentioned to Rick, “No one has seen anything like this before.” But, in the case of A Scanner Darkly, everything moves to the next level. Everything changes when this movie is released.