Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson joined forces in order to bring Georges Prosper Remi's (a.k.a. Hergé) iconic do-daring adventure comic series The Adventures of Tintin to the big screen. Their efforts culminated with last year's Oscar-nominated 3D motion-capture adaptation, which grossed $374 million around the world and earned a respectable amount of critical accolades (read our review).
Of course, Spielberg and Jackson's plan was always to make a Tintin trilogy based on Hergé's most famous stories. Just over a year ago, producer Kathleen Kennedy indicated that Jackson - who's swapping director/producer duties with Spielberg for the second installment - would finish "camera capture" by Summer 2012; though obviously, that did not happen, in no small part due to Jackson's decision to extend his two-part Hobbit adaptation into a full-blown Middle-earth trilogy.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens worldwide this week (save for a handful of countries), which means Jackson has been out and about promoting the movie and answering press questions. No surprise, the subject of Tintin's already been brought up; however, Jackson says he intends to wrap-up the performance-capture portion of production on the sequel sooner than you might expect (given he still has around 18 months of work left before The Hobbit is fully-finished).
Here's what Jackson told RY”TBF about the Tintin sequel (note: the following is a rough translation):
"Anthony Horowitz is writing the script, I will meet next week to work with him. Then, hopefully, hopefully, find a time next year, along with the post-production of the second part of the Hobbit to shoot [the] second Tintin motion capture, [followed by two years of post-production] to refine images from the film."
In other words, Jackson's plan is to complete principal photography for the third Hobbit installment, There and Back Again - in addition to pickup photography for the second film, The Desolation of Smaug - before stepping away to shoot the motion-capture footage for the Tintin sequel during the second half of 2013 (which should only take about a month). That would keep the next Adventures of Tintin installment on course to reach theaters by Fall or Winter 2015, four years after Spielberg's first film arrived.
Horowitz (creator of the TV mini-series Injustice and Foyle's War) is expected to be drawing inspiration primarily from Hergé's Tintin story "The Calculus Affair," rather than the long-rumored "Prisoners of the Sun" (or so Kennedy suggested last year). Here's an excellent breakdown of that installment, courtesy of Screen Rant's own Kofi Outlaw:
Like the last Indiana Jones movie (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) attempted to do, “The Calculus Affair” trades the treasure-hunting adventures of the 1940s serials for the more sci-fi-minded era of the 1950s. The story has a decidedly more spy-movie feel to it, as Professor Calculus is abducted after it’s discovered that he is working on a sonic device that could be utilized as a terrible weapon. What ensues is a game of espionage, as Tintin and Haddock race across Europe tracking clues to help them recover their lost friend.
Arguably, "The Calculus Affair" seems like a more natural fit for Spielberg to direct, given his penchant for handling the sci-fi genre; in fact, in this writer's opinion, the integration of kitschy 1950s sci-fi genre elements with a romanticized adventure story was something managed quite well in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (too bad the same cannot be said for the rest of that film...). On the other hand, it should be all the more interesting to see Jackson handle that particular Tintin tale because he'll be working outside his comfort zone of fantastical material.
We'll keep you posted on the next installment in The Adventures of Tintin as the story develops.
As mentioned before, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in U.S. theaters tomorrow.