“You’re looking for truth”–Gore Verbinski talks about directing RANGO

Rango director Gore Verbinski recently spoke to Kevin Lally of Film Journal International about his first foray into animation. “Verbinski did not isolate his actors in separate recording booths but gathered them in a room to physically perform the script together,” Lally notes. Why the change from tradition? “It came out of not having done animation before,” Verbinski explained. “Why give up techniques I’ve developed in live action? There’s a process in telling a story that you get used to, and I didn’t want to throw that away.”

Verbinski also understands the chemistry that develops among actors when they have a chance to work together. “[Y]ou’re looking for gifts, for truth or an awkward moment. You’re looking for actors to leave the page and give you something honest, and I think that only happens by having other people present and something to react to. So much of acting is reacting. I never thought about doing it a different way.”

The director concedes that his “playful approach,” which he calls “orchestrated chaos,” required an adjustment from the actors because of the speed at which they worked. “You’re doing nine pages a day, and on some of these big movies you’re lucky if you get through two-and-a-half pages. [. . .] There’s no relighting, there’s no camera setups, we’re just running the scene. [. . . W]e did the whole thing in 20 days.”

Verbinski told Film Journal that he developed the character of Rango with Johnny Depp while they were working on the Pirates of the Caribbean films. “Then he was off working, and for the first story reel my storyboard artist Jim Byrkit and I did all the voices and roughed the whole thing, but always with Johnny in mind. [. . .] We modeled the storyboards on Johnny’s kind of Buster Keaton abilities, both meek and grand at the same time.”

The Zone thanks Theresa for sharing the Film Journal article. You can read more about Rango on the Zone’s Porch General Discussion forum and the News & Views forum. Kevin Lally’s excellent article is available HERE.