Posted on Friday, December 19th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
Ralph Bakshi, the animator who did films like Wizards and the first adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, used an early rotoscope animation technique to create the fantasy story Fire and Ice, which adopted character designs by artist Frank Frazetta. Now Robert Rodriguez is going to make his first foray into full-on fantasy epics with a live-action Fire and Ice remake, in an attempt to launch a new fantasy franchise.
This isn’t a new project; Rodriguez optioned Fire and Ice back in 2010, then saying he was working with Bakshi to develop the new version of the story. And in 2012, Rodriguez said he would make Fire and Ice after his Machete and Sin City sequels. Now here we are, after the release of both Machete Kills and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and Rodriguez is making good on his word.
Deadline reports that while Bold films (which backed Whiplash and Nightcrawler) has financed development so far, the filmmaker has set the live action Fire and Ice remake up at Sony and that the idea is to use the film to launch a new fantasy franchise featuring “multiple installments set in a brutal and primitive world.”
Fire and Ice follows the story of an Ice Lord who slowly steamrolls over his enemies and conquests with a glacial fortress. He kidnaps Teegra, daughter of the lord of Fire Keep, spurring a villager named Larn in an attempt to rescue Teegra and destroy the Ice Lord.
The attraction of Fire and Ice wasn’t the story, but the look. For the rotoscoped animation Bakshi and his crew shot live-action plates, then animated Frazetta-style figures over them. Granted, with performance-capture techniques the same thing can essentially be done digitally now, and while this is being called a live-action film, expect a lot of digital work to bring Frazetta’s art style to the screen.
Rodriguez told Deadline,
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I’m a lifelong Frazetta fan who was inspired by his work, like so many people. It was my dream to work with him, and the first thing I did when I got to Hollywood was call him. I got him to do a From Dusk Till Dawn poster for me, and I got to work with him and know him over the years. When I’d visit him at his museum and see his artwork, I tried to figure what would the ultimate Frazetta movie be. I remembered the movie he did, Fire And Ice, back when I was a kid. I thought, ‘I wish they could have made it look more like the paintings, but I guess they’d have had to paint each frame.’ Now, you could do that. You could make it look like you were in his imagination.