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PITCH BLACK

About The Production
Are you afraid of the dark? You will be...

With that primal fear in mind, brothers Ken and Jim Wheat had written an original screenplay, Pitch Black. Producer Tom Engelman read the script, and wanted to make it into a movie, explaining, "I had always been excited by the idea behind Pitch Black. To me, it's about the worst of your childhood fears in the dark. I clearly remember my first sleepover experience, when I was about five years old: I woke up in the dark, in a strange room and was immediately terrified. I fell off the top bunk onto the floor, and was so scared that I ran home, screaming all the way, with everything I saw being perceived as a monster or a demon. When I read this script for the first time, I thought that it was all about that childhood fear of the dark that most of us never really grow out of."

Engelman and the production company making Pitch Black, Interscope Communications, invited writer/director David Twohy to join the project.

A writer and director whose work has successfully explored both the science-fiction and the action-adventure genres, Twohy saw in Pitch Black the opportunity to combine both. He remembers, "I thought at the time that it had the germ of a great idea: the concept of a planet that comes alive in the dark, becomes even more inhospitable than it already' is. I thought, 'I could have a lot of fun with this."'

Engelman remembers, "David became involved, produced a really superior script for Pitch Black, and also brought to the project his director's vision. That vision was so clear and precise that it became obvious to us that David should direct the movie." Twohy signed on, and so Interscope put the movie into active pre-production.

For producer Engelman, finding craftsmen who could effectively conceive and design the distinctive nocturnal life forms that would be seen on the planet depicted in Pitch Black became a top priority, even before shooting started. He says, "We went to the best we could find: [creature designer and supervisor] Patrick Tatopoulos, who had just finished work on 'Godzilla.' He jumped straight into this, and found a concept for the creatures that was quite extraordinary and totally original. We were very fortunate to have his guiding hand."

For two months, Tatopoulos worked closely with Twohy, who advocated making the creatures more realistic — and, therefore, more believably scary. The result? Monsters somewhere "between dinosaur and bird," muses Tatopoulos.

The Pitch Black team next recruited John Cox for creature fabrication. Cox had received an Academy Award for his work on "Babe"... but, working on Pitch Black, he was definitely not "down on the farm" any more. For the new film, he told The Hollywood Reporter, his main creature creation was "bizarre-looking.. it is one of the creepiest things I've ever seen": on-set, it stood eight feet tall, with arms four feet long, an eight-foot wingspan, and — perhaps most imposingly — a head measuring four feet wide (including a ravenous mouth).

Then, Engelman recalls, "We needed someone who could take all the elements, put them in a computer, and come up with some cutting-edge visual effects, unlike anything we'd seen before."

Peter Chiang was tappe

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