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A.I.

The Special Effects
With the cast in place, the filmmakers' focus turned to the creation of groundbreaking special effects and technical wizardry inherent in a design of a future that, in many ways, had never been attempted before in a motion picture.

With such a tight production schedule, each proposed day of shooting "A.I.” would be a challenge of technology meeting artistry – with intricate makeups, elaborate mechanical special effects, and a cutting-edge "virtual set.”  Actors would need to focus on creating something rarely attempted in their craft: embodying or reacting to synthetic life forms.

Though the production was limited in prep and production time, the fact that Spielberg penned the script helped streamline the technical demands. "Steven was enormously helpful in articulating what he needed,” says Kennedy. "He spent from four to six hours a day with the art department going over storyboards and working with models. Everything, in a sense, had to be designed, fabricated and invented by Steven. Then, communicating that to all departments is really what the challenge of producing is all about.”

Spielberg first gathered with key personnel such as visual effects supervisors Dennis Muren and Scott Farrar from ILM, and production designer Rick Carter.  Hours were spent meticulously pouring over Chris Baker's early storyboards, structuring the look of a newly devised future.

"Steven showed me over a thousand pieces of art that Stanley had been working with since he began his work on the project,” Dennis Muren remembers. "Steven had the same sensibility as Stanley visually and he wanted to carry through with his view of the future. Steven felt he should be true to that, because Stanley was so right on in his concept of the future. It became a wonderful marriage of ideas.”

Soon, ILM was constructing over 100 practical models as well as another 100 computer models to syncronize and bring the worlds of "A.I. Artificial Intelligence” to life. Conceptual artist Baker relocated to the United States and spent several weeks at ILM's facilities in northern California collaborating on the realization of his designs.

In Los Angeles, production designer Rick Carter broke the film down into three segments in order to create a smooth technical flow.  "I thought of this film as a sort of evolution of movies,” Carter explains. "It starts as a straight ahead domestic drama, switches to a sort of road picture that incorporates both real and digital images, then expands into an almost entirely digital world. But they are all part of one journey that forms the basis of David's experience in this movie.”

As real sets were being planned and constructed, robotic and creature effects creator Stan Winston, Dennis Muren and Scott Farrar and their ILM team, along with special effects master Michael Lantieri huddled with Spielberg to brainstorm and create an all-new world of robots. Winston and Lantieri also collaborated this way on another groundbreaking film: "Jurassic Park.”  With "Jurassic Park,” they had created a realm of dinosaurs that used an expert fusion of practical and computerized effects that had never been seen before. Audiences were stunned by the realism achieved in that film.

"A.I. was probably the most confidential, under wraps project of my career,” says Winston, who kept the "Jurassic Park” creatures under top secret protection during production of that film. "We were designing the world of robots, and I knew very little about the script at the beginning. But I don'

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