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LITTLE MAN

About The Visual Effects
"I always say that on every movie, somebody performs a miracle,” says Keenen. "On this movie, the visual effects guys were definitely the miracle workers.”

The Wayans filmmaking team enlisted visual effects supervisor Alex Bicknell and visual effects producer Rob Yamamoto to oversee the complex effects process —which included hiring outside effects houses, to watching over daily principal photography, to overseeing post-production. "What was great is that they both allowed us to make the movie normally,” comments Keenen. "It wasn't about building these huge rigs or long waits for setups, it was about ‘You shoot your movie and we'll be almost invisible to you.'”

"Nobody's ever done what we did before. These guys came in on the fly and in a short period of time, they took charge to help us create this really believable character,” says producer Alvarez.

The visual-effects house Moving Picture Company (MPC) of London was hired to create the "little man” character. "What I liked about the guys in London was that their approach was simple,” says Keenen. The filmmakers utilized the laborintensive, old-fashioned 2D split composite to create the character of Calvin Sims so that Marlon Wayans' comedic performance and that of his 2'6” body double would experience no technical inhibitions on the set. It also enabled the camera to move fluidly and left filmmakers free to use dollies, cranes and a Stedi-Cam. This technique, however, basically required shooting the movie twice. Each scene was shot normally with the entire cast acting with the body double, and then a second time with Marlon performing with only his head against a green screen.

2D match moved-head replacement is not a completely new technique but the filmmakers took it to a whole new level. "I believe it's never been done to this scale in a motion picture before and it's the first time it's been used for the lead character throughout a film,” asserts Bicknell. "The technique allows us to stay inside a photo-real world. Working in visual effects, we're more used to spaceships, exploding cars, CG buildings and CG characters, with the action frequently shot by the second unit. Here we were actually working with and creating the principle character. Every shot of Calvin was a visual effect.”

"Split screen compositing gave Keenen total flexibility. He shot a regular movie and we did the mechanical work in post production,” explains Yamamoto.

The filmmakers conducted their initial visual-effects camera tests in Los Angeles several months before production began. "We shot the scene where Calvin's drunk in a diaper. When we put Marlon's head on the character, it was just hilarious and we knew instantly it was going to work,” comments Mayes.

Prior to the test, filmmakers searched for a unique actor to play the "body” of Calvin Sims. "We looked high and low all over the U.S. and Canada,” says Alvarez. "We saw a lot of great, funny, talented actors. The big problem was finding someone who was under three feet tall. There aren't a lot of actors like that out there.”

"It was almost too good to be true when our casting people came to our office one day with a tape of this young kid Linden Porco,” says Mayes. "He was perfect, two and a half feet tall and a natural athlete. We could see from the tape that he was adorable, charming and funny.”

One of the filmmakers' concerns was that since Porco was only nine years old, it would restrict the number of hours he could work each day. But, says Mayes, "he was energetic and enthusiastic and had great comic timing. He worked fast. We really lucked out.”

"Linden got every joke and really understood what Marlon's character was about,” observes Keenen. "He gave us the energy and the attitude, along with the walking and the talking. Then Marlon gave us all the facia

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