John Gaeta Shows Off Ninja Assassin

Courtesy of Boing Boing there’s a new video online that showcases some behind the scenes Ninja Assassin footage, cut with an interview with John Gaeta, the film’s FX head honcho. Some picture-in-picture footage is shown and while it appears implicit that this comes from the finished film, I’m not convinced. The post work on display in these boxed-in clips isn’t particularly tasteful and some might even consider it tacky. Check it out for yourself because the video has been embedded after the break.

Ninja Assassin, for those of you with other things on your mind, comes from within arms reach of the Wachowskis. Gaeta was the Matrix bullet time co-ordinator, director James McTeague previously made V For Vendetta, and the film’s ninja assassin Raizo is played by Rain, the Korean pop star that appeared in Speed Racer. Throw in Sylvester Stallone and Gina Gershon and we’d have covered everything, I think.

Xeni Jardin’s interview is notable for two more reasons: her voice, which I found quite remarkable, and the questions, which came from members of a live chat audience. Watch it here:

The blending of virtual actors and their flesh and blood counterparts is an exciting tool. I’ve already professed my love for Blade 2, a film which made great leaps with this technology. I was also impressed by the very brief moments in Roger Rabbit that carried off a low-tech cel-animated version of the same idea too. The point there would be that isn’t a new toy for filmmakers, but it is still rich in untapped potential. All the same, and even though it is discussed in the video, Gaeta claims in an extended interview, not on the video but simply transcribed on the Boing Bong site, that such CG trickery doesn’t really feature in the film at all.

Notice that Gaeta refers to the film as a side project. It isn’t that he was trying to manage expectations, just that he simply had no FX duties here and only worked as a second unit director.

Just having a chance to watch the 87Eleven action team do their stuff made the video fully worthwhile for me. Peter previously posted a longer video of their choreography in a previous post and that’s definitely worth checking out too – basically, there’s no Gaeta, but more of the same behind the scenes material. Gorgeous.

Why isn’t there an Oscar for stunts or stunt co-ordination? I’ve mentioned this several times before, I think, but it still makes me a little peeved. These are the people most likely to die in the name of making a film and, when it comes to the biggest, most popular ceremony of recognition in the industry, they get left out. Very wrong.

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