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MOUSE HUNT

The Mouse

Starring in the title role of "Mouse Hunt" is... the mouse. It is actually an ensemble performance delivered by a combination of real mice, an animatronic mouse and a computer-generated (CGI) mouse.

With the help of veteran animal trainer Boone Narr, director Gore Verbinski decided on an average-looking brownish-gray field mouse, about three inches long and 28 grams in weight. Once they had decided on the type of mouse, Narr and his team began training 60 mice to perform the complex stunts and tricks they would have to perform in the film. Grouped in teams of four or five, the mice had to be taught to do basic running and climbing stunts, as well as more intricate actions, including climbing into a sardine can bed beneath a tissue paper comforter.

"We had jumpers, we had climbers, we had retrievers...," Narr offers. "Mice are very intelligent. There are scenes where they come out and grab an olive and take off with it, or retrieve a Cheerio, or jump from one object to another... multiple things in one take with no cuts. Most people think mice can't do that, but they can."

The mice became so beloved that many of the "Mouse Hunt" cast and crew adopted them after shooting was completed.

"The whole fun of the movie is that you believe that this is a real mouse doing the things that a real mouse does," says Cohen. "But there are moments in the film where the mouse is called upon to perform things that a real mouse can't actually do or do safely, so we used the animatronic mouse or the computer-generated mouse as the 'stunt mouse.'"

The visual effects team from Rhythm & Hues Studios was responsible for overseeing the complex visual mouse effects. According to Rhythm & Hues' visual effects supervisor Charles Gibson, "The goal with 'Mouse Hunt's' visual effects was to make people believe we had the world's most amazing trained mouse, and never a CGI creation."

Having collaborated with director Gore Verbinski on the Budweiser "Frogs," Academy Award®­winning special effects wizard Stan Winston and his team were brought in to create an animatronic mouse. The animatronic mouse was mainly employed for close-up work where the camera had to capture facial expressions and movements that would be hard to get from a real mouse.

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