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Разные интересные статьи

#631  Сообщение Liberian Girl » 26 окт 2017, 12:43

A bright (and animated) Halloween night with Michael Jackson

NEW YORK — Here’s a chance to trick or treat with the eyes and ears. Catch “Michael Jackson’s Halloween,” a for-all-ages animated special airing Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern on CBS.

It costumes Halloween as a life-affirming way to explore hopes and dreams.

“This is just for fun,” summed up John Branca, one of the special’s executive producers.

The story unfolds in a familiar Halloween setting: a haunted mansion. A couple of teens, Vincent and Victoria, are by chance drawn into this mysterious manor on Halloween night. There awaits adventure, discovery and, of course, music. (Happily, this property is under the spell of Michael Jackson.)

Vincent and Victoria are voiced by Lucas Till and Kiersey Clemons, with Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming, George Eads, Brad Garrett, Lucy Liu and Jim Parsons furnishing the voices for a whimsical array of supporting characters.

At issue is an evil force that aims to impose mindless conformity on everyone and to banish music from the world. Spoiler alert: This villainess, who in fact is named Conformity, will soundly lose the battle thanks to Vincent and Victoria and the rest of the opposition rallied by Jackson.

“Michael was a big kid who loved Halloween and loved animation, and, of course, his video ‘Thriller’ is the most popular music video of all time,” said Branca, who is also co-executor of the Michael Jackson estate and whose close relationship with Jackson reaches back to his wedding in the late 1980s, when Jackson served as his best man. “We thought: Michael deserves to be part of Halloween.”

In the special, he appears in many alternate forms: as the Man in the Moon, as a bat, a dancing jack-o’-lantern and a mad-scientist cat.

“We wanted to imbue the show with the legacy of Michael and the world he created, and the songs that mean so much to so many people,” said Mark A.Z. Dippe, the show’s director. “We wanted to tell a story that brought all that to life.”

Vincent wants to be a deejay. Victoria dreams of being a dancer. Neither is getting much support from their elders. They feel discouraged. But once they arrive at 777 Jackson St., “the kids are taken on a spiritual journey,” said Dippe, “and they gain the confidence to make the choice that is in their hearts. We used the idea of Michael’s music helping guide people through that decision-making process.”

Indeed, Jackson’s music is woven through the entire hour, a soundscape played against its lush 3-D animation.

“We wanted a narrative piece that was guided by the music of Michael Jackson,” Dippe said.

That being the case, Branca had a bit of guidance for those planning to enjoy “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” and its sensory treats: “We encourage everyone to view it on a big-screen television if they have one,” he said, “with the sound turned up!”




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#632  Сообщение Liberian Girl » 29 окт 2017, 04:54

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#633  Сообщение Liberian Girl » 29 окт 2017, 05:11

The Strange, Spooky Story Behind Michael Jackson’s Halloween

The bonkers animated special, which features both Jim Parsons and “Thriller,” is a tribute to the King of Pop’s love for all things scary.

There’s something spooky going on at CBS. Last Wednesday, the network released a trailer that quickly went viral. It was for an animated project titled Michael Jackson’s Halloween, a one-hour TV special about two kids who stumble upon a magical adventure at a mysterious hotel set to Jackson’s music; it features a voice cast that includes actors Kiersey Clemons, Christine Baranski, Lucy Liu, Alan Cumming, George Eads, Brad Garrett, Lucas Till, and Old Sheldon himself, Jim Parsons (who plays a Jack Skellington-esque spookmeister named Hay Man, dressed in M.J.’s signature military aesthetic). Here’s how CBS describes the plot:

“The special follows millennials Vincent (Lucas Till) and Victoria (Kiersey Clemons), who meet ‘accidentally’ on Halloween night and find themselves, along with Ichabod the dog, at a mysterious hotel located at 777 Jackson Street called This Place Hotel. Once inside, Vincent and Victoria are sent on an unexpected, magical adventure of personal discovery, culminating in a spectacular dance finale featuring an animated Michael Jackson.”


How did this animated Frankenspecial come together? Well, it was created by Optimum Productions—a company owned by Jackson’s estate—and is produced by John Branca and John McClain, two executors of that estate. According to Branca and director Mark A.Z. Dippé, the special was born a year and a half ago, when Dippé’s team began dreaming up an animated project for the estate.

“The notion of doing something for Halloween was an easy and natural one because of Michael’s love of it,” Branca tells Vanity Fair. “And every October, ‘Thriller’ goes back to the top of the charts, so we wanted to take the next step and create something fun for families.”

Jackson was fond of scary, fantastical live-action projects (“Thriller,” “Ghosts,” “Captain EO”) and had wanted to make an animated project in his later years, according to Branca, who worked with the singer for over two decades. Ultimately, Michael Jackson’s Halloween got the green light thanks to the characters Dippé’s team created—particularly a spider voiced by Cumming, which reminded him of a spider prop that Jackson once used in live shows. He also found the Hay Man to be “a stroke of genius.”

The show was inspired by the spirit of various Charlie Brown specials, like It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. “You see those every year, for 20 years,” Branca said. Though there are currently no plans to roll out more seasonal Jackson specials, the estate has not “decided anything” just yet.

Dippé says the animation shares “a certain relationship” with films like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton’s idiosyncratic holiday classic, though Jackson’s Halloween doesn’t have quite the same timeless aesthetic. When he began plotting the project, Dippé decided to use 3D animation, tapping some of Jackson’s former choreographers and dancers for the film’s motion capture, in order “to bring Michael’s dancing to life in a very rich and deserving way.” The special also features a dance sequence performed by an animated version of Jackson himself—though Dippé and Branca emphasize that this is not an exact replica of the singer. “It’s a stylized representation of Michael,” Dippé says. “It’s not meant to be a photographic, accurate depiction of him, but rather this magic, stylized version of him.”

The duo worked with CBS to fill out the film’s cast, which is why you’ll notice familiar network voices in the mix—including those of Parsons, Baranski (The Good Fight), and Liu (Elementary). Though the special doesn’t include any black male actors in the core cast—despite its inspiration—Dippé and Branca point toward stars like Clemons, who is biracial, and the film’s inclusive behind-the-scenes team, particularly its choreographers and musical director Kevin Antunes. (Antunes also designed the Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil productions, Michael Jackson: One and the Immortal World Tour.) In addition, they say casting ultimately came down to scheduling: “We actually went to people like L.L. Cool J,” who stars in the network’s NCIS: Los Angeles, Branca said. “It just was a matter of who was available.”

The special will weave together 25 songs from Jackson’s catalogue, including spookier fare like “Thriller” and “Blood on the Dance Floor,” slightly deeper cuts like “Childhood,” and peripheral hits like Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” and the Jacksons’s “Torture.” For the millions bound to watch Michael Jackson’s Halloween when it airs October 27, Branca has one main piece of advice: “Turn it up loud.”


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