Special effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull says he is working on a project that will change the way movies are made and seen—and if anyone can do it, he can.
Even if he never worked another day in his life, Douglas Trumbull would be a legendary name in the history of cinema thanks to his groundbreaking special effects work on films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Blade Runner and countless others.
But according to a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Trumbull—who's also a director but has not helmed a Hollywood film in years—says he's working on a new film project that is going "way beyond anything that Peter Jackson and Jim Cameron have been doing or are thinking of." He also says he's doing it on his own for now because Hollywood just doesn't want to know.
I'm developing my own film, well, several films, but one of these films is going to go into this new territory I'm talking about - which is first person cinema reality which is indistinguishable from reality. The screen is going to be so big it's like a window into another world...no one's ever seen it before, and no one can imagine what it would be like. But I can, and I know, and so I'm comfortable with personally making the investment. I have my own studio, I work in the Berkshires, I have my own stage, my own cameras, my own lights, my own editing, my own workshop, my machine shop, and I'm trying to reinvent the movies—with no help whatsoever from Hollywood.
Pressed for details on the film he is developing, Trumbull adds:
I can only say that it's a 200-years-in-the-future science fiction space epic that's going to address very big, lofty issues, like man's place in the universe, and our contact with extraterrestrial civilizations that are so mind-bogglingly in advance of our own that it will go into some of the same territory that 2001 went into, and it's going to do it in a very plausibly scientific way, not a fanciful way. There are no alien monsters, and the earth is not being attacked by anybody. It's going to be a much more intelligent, what we call hard-science fiction, and I think there's absolutely nothing out there like this.
Trumbull goes into much more detail about the state of filmmaking and the movie industry in the interview, which was done after he received the Georges Melies (look him up if the name is not familiar) Award from the Visual Effects Society a few nights ago. It's a must-read if you're into the nuts and bolts of cinema, special effects and even how movies are projected.
In the meantime, though, what do you think of Trumbull's ideas? Can something which sounds so visionary get onto movie screens today through the Hollywood system?