Warning! This article contains spoilers for David Fincher’s episode of Love, Death and Robots Volume 3, titled “Bad Travelling”. All 9 episodes are currently available to watch on Netflix.
After nearly 40 years in the entertainment business, three-time Oscar nominee David Fincher has seemingly done it all. From his early years directing music videos for Madonna and Aerosmith, creating memorable films like Seven and The Social Network, and working on acclaimed TV shows such as House of Cards and Mindhunter, Fincher’s resume appears to be full. . But what about animations?
With the launch of Volume 3 of Netflix’s mind-blowing anthology series Love, Death and Robots, Fincher can finally get the animation off his to-do list with his episode titled “Bad Travelling.” In this maritime horror story, a group of Jable shark hunters on a distant planet are attacked by a giant crustacean. With the sailors’ lives in danger, chaos and mutiny ensue.
Although Fincher has decades of experience behind the camera on live-action projects, we wanted to know if animation brought new challenges to the seasoned director.
“At the end of the day, directing comes down to understanding context and sculpting time, light, and behavior with that innate understanding,” Fincher told IGN. “In some cases, like with motion capture, there are people in onesie with ping pong balls hanging on, and you’re like, ‘Ok, now remember the boat is rocking and everything…” You’re here to add some imagination sauce to all the other shit they’re trying to keep in their head. I mean, it tends to sound a bit like Saturday Night Live. It’s a ridiculous thing to ask someone to do one – play, dressed in pajamas. So this aspect, it’s the same thing. You’re playing dress up, aren’t you? And you’re trying to say, “Look, from the audience’s point of view, it has to happen a little faster here, a little… It can go a little slower. Find this word. It’s always the same shit.”
“Bad Travelling” stars famed video game voice actor Troy Baker (The Last of Us, Bioshock: Infinite) in the lead role, as one of the weary sailors who must battle the terrifying crustacean. Fincher’s episode is an adaptation of the short story of the same name by Neal Asher. And while Asher’s story was the main influence for what we see on screen, Fincher was also inspired by an iconic sci-fi monster movie from the late 1970s.
“I love Yaphet Kotto and Harry Dean in Alien,” Fincher said. “And I love the idea of these totally disparate, steep, really sweaty guys wanting to renegotiate the bonus situation before we talk about when we can get steam back online. And I love that. And I love the idea of those kinds of faces: weathered and cynical and suspicious. And here’s the guy who inherited this thing that’s supposed to leak now because he’s next on the list. And they’re like, ‘Yeah, not so much . Well, none of us want to come down. It’s your fault, motherfucker. And they sent him down the hole. I was kind of like, ‘What are the first three pages? OK. What do I need to tell this story?’ And I thought, I don’t want this to look like Around the World in 80 Days. I wanted it to look like Alien.”
Since the 1992 release of Alien 3 (Fincher’s feature debut), the veteran director hasn’t produced much sci-fi content, until his recent collaboration with fellow executive producer of Love, Death, and Robots, Tim Miller (Deadpool). Fincher told us that while Miller was helping him with some of the motion capture and creature designs, Fincher still had ideas for what the giant crab should look like.
“It was kind of like a scorpion, lobster thing. And then I started bringing it back, and I kept coming back to this idea of, I want this thing to be like a walking coral reef,” said Fincher told IGN. “It’s literally the size of two Range Rovers side by side. And if he decides he wants to cut you in half, he certainly has the ability to do that. We had different types of rides when we were doing the mix , and it was like, there’s the Clydesdale, and then there’s the dragging side, the elephant walk that he does. I liked the scorpion tail, but we had to make sense of it so that it doesn’t feel… It initially looked like a tapeworm, which is a little disconcerting.”
With three Academy Award nominations for Best Director and a host of other high-profile accolades over the years, what more can David Fincher learn from working on a 21-minute animated episode?
“The idea is to get better. The idea is to be a fuller version of a storyteller,” Fincher explained. “I think initially I was… If I had reservations, it was like, ‘Oh my God, if I have 300 shots, can I do it? Can I do something that … Can I say…’ II mean, the script was… I’ll say it was 16 pages or 17 pages. And there were things like, ‘The crew fights the crustacean giant until it disappears into the hole.’ It’s kind of like Lawrence taking Aqaba. And you’re like, ‘Okay, well, that’s three weeks of shooting.’ So there were things that were misleading about it. But I’m pretty used to that. And I’m certainly used to my process. I don’t think there were a lot of people in the mo-cap that had used to do 14 takes of a master But as far as I’m concerned it’s like, I want to make sure we get the tape where everyone crosses over and does their best for people from every side of them.
Love, Death and Robots – Season 3 Images
For more from the world of streaming, be sure to check out Disney’s latest Ms. Marvel trailer, Marvel is working on a new Daredevil series, and our Night Sky Season 1 review.
David Griffin is Editor, Features and Content Partnerships for IGN. Say hello Twitter.
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