However, this time round, the creature is given a more individualistic character, created through the combined power of Connery’s voice and the facial mannerisms captured by the animators.
‘One is not conscious of all your gestures until they’ve been put together like this,’ says the star of his ﬁrst reactions to his newest screen incarnation. ‘I sometimes see myself in it doing certain kinds of posturings - that’s why I’ve got my arms crossed now.’
Director Rob Cohen elaborates: ‘Sean has an incredible body of work. so I pulled clips from the beginning of his career to his most recent performances, categorising every possible emotion — sardonic, amused, sceptical, critical,
‘It’s realistic that the chances for me playing Romeo are over, but I don’t think I’m conscioust getting into retirement mode or working into an
charming, seductive, intellectual, introspective, melancholic. We broke down his emotional life on ﬁlm and studied how he uses his eyes and posture and body, then we applied them to Draco.’
For Connery. it was an odd experience to record his speeches without synching his words to footage that had already been ﬁlmed. ‘Dennis Quaid was there.’ he says, describing the recording session, ‘but the difference was that he still had it to do and l was going for broke on performance. So he started quite cool and Iaidback when we were reading, and I had to go at him and goad him a bit.’
On location in Slovakia, Connery remained a presence as massive speakers boomed out his lines across the countryside, no doubt to the bemusement of the locals who might have expected James Bond to stride over the brow of a hill. Then again, non-English-speaking territories aren’t as familiar with the famous voice as the rest of the cinema world, as dubbing effectively removes those Connery
characteristics from the soundtrack. The actor is obviously proud of his vocal work on Dragon/wart, so how does he feel knowing that his efforts will be erased in other countries?
‘l’m not quite sure how to answer that.‘ he says. as if considering the question for the ﬁrst time. ‘lfthey’re going to show the movie in Abu Dhabi or Dubai or somewhere in Arabic, will they start from the end of the ﬁlm ﬁrst? If they get the spirit of it, it will work.’
Rob Cohen has given the issue more thought: ‘There is only one Sean Connery, but you try to get someone with a rich voice, someone with authority and stature in the culture. For example, in France we have Philippe Noirct. He did a great job, but the dragon will always be Sean. Draco going, “Bowen, qu’est-ce que tu fais?” just doesn’t quite have the same ring.’
At 66, Connery shows no sign of slowing
Sean Connery: making a shlmply shplendltt lob of Draco down. ‘Well, it’s realistic that the chances for me playing Romeo are over,’ he concedes. ‘l have no shortage of material and offers, it’s just a case of what you select to do. I don’t think I’m consciously getting into retirement mode or working into an easier schedule.’
He claims he’d love to shoot in Britain, but unfortunate schedule clashes kept him from taking roles in Rob Roy and Brave/team. With great cinematic irony, the part he turned down in Mel Gibson’s epic was that of Edward 1. Hammer of the Scots, an English psycho eventually played by Patrick McGoohan. Next time he considers Bannockburn. however, rest assured he’ll be back behind the Saltire to help the SNP prepare for battle at the General Election.
Dragon/tear! goes on general release on Fri I 8
Euan MacDonald: hound tor Jurassic Park 2
The dream effect
The technical wizard behind Dragonheart is 3 Scot,
discovers Alan Morrison.
hen Euan Macdonald stepped Woff a transatlantic plane in
August. it was quite a homecoming. Only a decade after he had left Portobello High School — but already one of Hollywood‘s hottest ‘digital effects supervisors’ - the 28- year-old‘s name was being mentioned in the same breath as fellow Edinburgh man Sean Connery.
Dragon/lean. the ﬁlm on which Macdonald helped bring to life a 43- foot long dragon, opened the 50th Edinburgh Film Festival. then played to enthusiastic children’s audiences at a multiplex cinema just along the road from where he grew up in Joppa. The next day. he took to the stage at the city’s ABC cinema and uncovered a few secrets about computer-generated animation.
At the time when Macdonald began getting excited about the potential of a new breed of computers. computer animation wasn’t exactly an option considered highly by the school careers ofﬁcer. He began a computer science course at Hen'ot Watt University. but found it ‘too technical’; instead he tried out an art and design course in Falmouth. which offered a good balance between creativity and programming know- how. A three-month placement with a
company in London specialising in computer-animated logos for television spilled over into a year-long opportunity to build up a portfolio of work.
‘ln the mid-80s. there were a number of computer-generated shorts coming out of the States and getting shown on British television.’ says Macdonald of his early inspirations. ‘Then gradually as l was getting more involved in it. The Abyss came out. then Terminator 2, then Jurassic Park. That was when I sent off my showreel to industrial Light & Magic. I really wanted to be involved with a company that was leading the way.’
ILM. George Lucas’s ground- breaking effects company. snapped him up immediately. in the three years that he’s been based in California, Macdonald has worked on The Mask, Diselosure, Dragon/rear! and. next up, .Iurassie Park 2: The Lost World. where again he’ll be digital effects supervisor. solving the problems created by the most complex shots. ‘lt’s a few years on now, so we’re going to be pushing things beyond what was done in the ﬁrst movie,‘ he boasts. ‘Steven Spielberg is aware of what is possible now. expecially after seeing Dragon/lean. and he is deﬁnitely into pushing the edge.’
The List 18-31 Oct 199611