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Saturday 18 February 2012

Tintin: Typewriter Collector

The Oscars are still a week away and I have found yet another nominated movie which features typewriters: Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin.
Indeed, Spielberg has turned Tintin into a typewriter collector!
Apparently Spielberg has a friend who collects typewriters, and that gave him the idea.
I wonder where lead conceptual artist Chris Guise got the idea from for the display of old typewriters on shelves in Tintin's lounge? Herman Price's Chestnut Ridge Typewriter Museum, maybe? The late Tilman Elster's collection? It looks vaguely familiar. As does this pale blue Royal portable:
I have been trying to get to see the movie for weeks now, without success so far.
But I can see the extent to which Spielberg planned to feature typewriters in the movie from a book called The Art of the Adventures of Tintin. It is published by HarperCollins (New Zealand).
This shows the original artwork from which various scenes were built. Tintin, a young journalist, and his dog Snowy are surrounded by typewriters in Tintin's (Brussels?) apartment.
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn is a "performance capture 3D film" (whatever that means) based on a series of comic books created by Belgian artist Hergé (Georges Remi).
Spielberg directs the movie, which is produced by New Zealander Peter Jackson. It the first animated film for Spielberg and also for Oscar-nominated composer John Williams.
Jackson's Weta Digital company provided the computer animation. The film won Best Animated Feature Film at the Golden Globe Awards and is nominated for an Academy Award for Williams' Best Original Score.
Bloggers have commented: "I loved that detail in the movie. I can see Tintin being fascinated with typewriters, since they can be quite beautiful!" ... "I wonder if he actually uses all of them, though?"
The book The Art of the Adventures of Tintin was put together by art director Guise, who is the Weta Workshop lead conceptual designer. Along with Guise's own set designs are those by Frank Victoria, Robert Baldwin and Rebekah Holguin.
Weta, by the way, comes from the Maori word  'wētā', and it's a rather large and nasty New Zealand insect which has been known to find its way into cosy typewriters left in sheds. 
As Michael Clemens points out in a comment here, Spielberg's friend is probably Tom Hanks, who also diplays his typewriters in this way:


mpclemens said...

The "famous friend" is surely Tom Hanks.

Robert Messenger said...

You're right, Hanks does have them displayed in shelves like that, too.

Richard P said...

This is amazing. I think it represents a certain breakthrough: typewriters have been getting cool for a while, and now typewriter collecting may be cool. Brilliant.

Now let's see if I can "prove I'm not a robot" with this crazy captcha system ...

Fernando Antunes said...

This is great!

Bill M said...


Dwayne F. said...

Very cool! Now I'm sorry we missed the movie.

Anonymous said...

I never noticed the typewriter collection when watching the film. I bought the DVD, and, after reading your post, I had to watch the movie and pause it at just the right spot (which is a very brief moment) just to get a glimpse of the typewriters. No wonder I missed it. It's too bad they were not featured more prominently. Thanks for making us aware of the typewriters in the film. I may have never noticed it otherwise.