Will Douglas Trumbull Reinvent Movies?

Movieby Joey Paur

Who's Douglas Trumbull you ask? He's the guy who's looking to give James Cameron and Peter Jackson a run for their money in the race to change the way we watch movies. Trumbull is a pioneer in special effects, having worked on films such as 2001: A Space OdysseyClose Encounters of the Third KindStar Trek: The Motion Picture, and Blade Runner. He's now going attempt to change the movie going experience for everyone on his own dime, without the help of the Hollywood machine. 

Trumbull is currently working on an epic film project that he says will “reinvent the movies.” The story for the film is set 200 years in the future, and it explores man's place in the universe. It's described as a “first person cinema reality which is indistinguishable from reality.” He goes on to say that it's "way beyond anything that Peter Jackson and Jim Cameron have been doing or are thinking of.”

I say bring it on! I want to see this movie; I want to see what he has planned that will blow our minds, because that's what he's looking to do. Wait until you read what he is planning. If he succeeds this could be incredibly epic. I hope he completes this because I want to experience it!

Here's what he had to say in a great in depth interview with THR:

I left LA in 1987 because of the Natalie Wood disaster; I was frightened for my own life, I was standing between MGM management and a $50 million fraudulent insurance claim. It was a very, very messy situation, and it was the worst personal, professional experience anybody should ever have to go through to get that movie done. And when I got it done, I said, if this is what making movies in Hollywood is like, I’m going to go do something else. I had to consciously decide to put my directing career on hold and go do something else. I did things like the Back to the Future ride and theme parks and expos and took IMAX public and things like that, which I think have been a big boon to the movie business. But I haven’t been on the playing field as a film director, and so nobody from Hollywood calls me to direct their movies. I’m not on anybody’s A-list to do that. I’m not on anybody’s list to want to see the future of cinema, because I feel I have to do it myself. I can talk until I’m blue in the face, but I have to show them what it is.

Here's where things get really interesting....

And so I’m developing my own film, well, several films, but one of these films is going to go into this new territory I’m talking about – which is first person cinema reality which is indistinguishable from reality. The screen is going to be so big it’s like a window into another world. I’m going way beyond anything that Peter Jackson and Jim Cameron have been doing or are thinking of, and I don’t expect to get traction from investors until I can show what it is. Because no one’s ever seen it before, and no one can imagine what it would be like. But I can, and I know, and so I’m comfortable with personally making the investment. I have my own studio, I work in the Berkshires, I have my own stage, my own cameras, my own lights, my own editing, my own workshop, my machine shop, and I’m trying to reinvent the movies – with no help whatsoever from Hollywood. But very good, supportive help from projector manufacturers and camera manufacturers, who are completely open to anything that’s going to invigorate their business. So I am getting support on the technical side, but I’m not getting any support on the production side – and I hope that will come.

He then goes on to explain in a bit more detail what his movie is actually about...

I can only say that it’s a 200-years-in-the-future science fiction space epic that’s going to address very big, lofty issues, like man’s place in the universe, and how our contact with an extraterrestrial civilizations that are so mind-bogglingly in advance of our own that it will go into some of the same territory that 2001 went into, and it’s going to do it in a very plausibly scientific way, not a fanciful way. There are no alien monsters, and the earth is not being attacked by anybody. It’s going to be a much more intelligent, what we call hard-science fiction, and I think there’s absolutely nothing out there like this. I think the studios believe that they have to dumb everything down and the audience is not scientific, not up for anything truly intelligent, but I think just the opposite. I think we’re in the most technologically advanced society of all time, and people can go with that immediately. Most people you poll would believe that there’s life in the universe, for sure, and the Kepler project and another project are showing that the likelihood of inhabitable planets in our galaxy alone is going to be in the billions, and so the whole plausibility of contact with extraterrestrial civilizations is becoming very real scientifically, very plausible. Talk to any scientist and they’ll say, absolutely, yes. But Hollywood is still in the monster phase, it’s in the b-movie monster phase. And I’m not saying how it should be, I’m just saying what I would like to do, and I’d like to make something more intelligent that I can really be proud of.

It's good to see someone out there that shares the same belief in audiences that I do. I believe the audience is not stupid, and I want to see a film that is both intellectually stimulating and exciting as hell! What Trumbull is developing could be it. I'm incredibly interested in what he has planned and I truly hope that he can pull it off.

What are your thoughts on what Trumbull is doing? Do you think he will succeed? Do you want him to succeed?

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