Computer Graphics World

Winter 2019

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28 cgw w i n t e r 2 0 1 9 H e is suave and debonair like James Bond. He has the fighting skills of Jason Bourne. He has the derring-do of Jack Bauer. And, he has the high-tech toys of In- spector Gadget. His name is Lance Sterling, and he's the world's best spy. But when he is accidentally turned into a pigeon, the solo operator must rely on his geeky technical officer to help him save the world in Blue Sky Studio's latest computer-animated feature comedy, Spies in Disguise. The film, distributed by 20th Century Fox, opens in theaters December 25, just in time for the holiday season. It is directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, who are making their directorial debuts. The film centers on "the world's most awesome spy," Lance Sterling (Will Smith), who protects the globe from grave threats and dastardly deeds by all types of bad- dies. Lance is the "face" of the operation, although behind the scenes, he relies on the technical wizardry of the young but socially awkward scientific genius Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) to build remarkable gadgets so that Lance is able to successfully complete his missions. However, things go horribly wrong when Lance ingests Beckett's latest experiment, a biodynamic conceal- ment serum, which transforms Lance into a pigeon. Nevertheless, he still must stop techno-terrorist Killian (Ben Mendelsohn), his archenemy, despite his new form. "Lance turns into a pigeon, which sounds ridiculous, and it is, but in all the best ways possible," Quane says. "Lance works alone and doesn't put his faith or trust in anyone, and ends up getting framed for a crime he did not commit and has to turn to the one person he would rather not: Walter Beckett. But it forces Lance and Walter to have to work together to save the day." The Dossier While some may think Spies in Disguise is about a talking bird, think again. There's so much more. It's about relationships and working together toward a common goal. Without question, it's also a spy movie. As such, the filmmakers were inspired by all the classic Bond films as well as the contempo- rary ones. "We both love the genre of spy movies – Bond, Bourne, Hunt (from Mission Impossi- ble)," says Bruno. "We watched almost every spy movie. We examined the canon to see what we liked in terms of the action and adventure, and what makes it look sleek and sexy, so that it feels real and grounded but also exciting." For further research, the directors visited the Spy Museum in Washington, DC, where they viewed some real-world spy gadgets up close and learned about real-world spy scenarios that they could then turn on their ear and make more outlandish in the film. "Again, the film has some grounding in reality in terms of actual spy missions and experi- ences," says Quane. Aer conducting the background infor- mation, the filmmakers then moved onto the second phase of the operation, choosing a sleek, stylized aesthetic. Lance has a lot of straight, clean lines, and is shaped similarly Spymasters BLUE SKY SPILLS ITS CREATIVE SECRETS FROM SPIES IN DISGUISE BY KAREN MOLTENBREY A TECHNICAL MISHAP TURNS A SPYMASTER INTO A BIRD IN SPIES IN DISGUISE. Images ©2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film. Courtesy Blue Sky Studios.

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