Phil Tippet, Not a Fan, But Gives It His Best on Breaking Dawn

Collider interviewed special effects genius Phil Tippet about his involvement on on a number of projects including Breaking Dawn.

Last night, you talked about taking meetings with directors and they would tell you they wanted this and that for their project, and sometimes their requests weren’t particularly thrilling to you. I’m wondering what the strangest request you’ve ever heard from a filmmaker was, or if there was something that someone wanted that you knew couldn’t possibly be done. Does anything like that come to mind?

TIPPETT: One that I get over and over and over that just irks me is that everyone wants it to look “real.”

As opposed to what?! As if anyone would want it to look fake?

TIPPETT: Exactly! We try our best, but…”You mean you just want it to look good?”

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN Part 1 posterYou’ve been working on the new Twilight movie, which is a franchise—if I’m being frank—I’m not a fan of…

TIPPETT: Yeah, neither am I.

Well, that’s because we’re not pre-teen girls. But there are a lot of fans out there, and there is a huge amount of buzz about the next one. I’ve read some things in particular about the storyline of the last book, and some of the sequences that were written into that novel sound like they’d need some elaborate special effects to make it on screen. Like, I’ve heard there’s this C-section scene where a vampire baby crawls out of a girl? Can you talk a little bit about the effects that you designed for the new Twilight movie and if so…

TIPPETT: Well, I really just do the wolves on this [film]. I’m not the effects supervisor, so I’m not apart of designing and putting together all of that stuff. But, it’s a PG13 rated movie. I’ve seen some of the stuff and it looks pretty cool. It’s a real good production team, the director is very good, very inclusive, and we work well together.

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  1. if I had that interviewer in front of me i would slap her…….. just saying

  2. I’m not sure how I feel about this interview, the whole thing seemed kinda snarky. Tippett is not a fan, ok, but it seems like he’s letting that affect the quality of the work. And honestly I’m surprised that he was invited back to do effects on the wolves. The New Moon wolves and wolf effects left a lot to be desired… just sayin’.

  3. Joshua L. Roberts says:

    Firstly, just because he isn’t a “fan” of the saga doesn’t mean he’s not going to do his best. Go to his website for crying out loud, his company has the Twilight wolves on their demo reels. He’s proud of his work. He’s done a fantastic job, especially with the limited funds his company has been given to create the effects. Phil Tippet is a pioneer, and he’s worked on some of the greatest franchise films ever created, including Star Wars Saga and Jurassic Park (just picked up Blu-Ray release). So give him a break.

    Honestly Twilighters… you need to get over yourself. Not everybody in the world needs to bow down to this Saga and worship it. Neither the interviewer nor Phil said anything to disrespect Stephenie, the saga, nor anyone involved with it. It isn’t their cup of tea…fine… but stop trashing people because it isn’t for them. As a fellow Twilighter, I can safely say that I’ve enjoyed the books and the movies, but in no wise am I going to trash somebody because they didn’t like it.

    So let’s play nice okay…

    • hear! hear!

    • velvet409 says:

      I have no problem with them not being Twilight fans, and I in no way believe that they would do less than their best work just because they don’t care for Twilight. I was a Star Wars fan years before Twilight came around, so I was well aware of who Phil Tippett is, and when I heard the news I was impressed that they got a pro like him to do special effects for the Twilight movies.

      What I do have a problem with are snarky comments like this: “Well, that’s because we’re not pre-teen girls.” These kinds of comments are disrespectful and ignorant, and I am sick of hearing them. The Twilight fandom is actually a very diverse group, and these kinds of statements just promote the stereotype that we’re all crazy, squeeling fangirls. I am not a pre-teen girl, and neither are any of the many people I know who are fans, including my middle-aged father.

      I agree with Jennifer. You can do your interview without including your personal feelings.

    • Elizabeth (EverythingRemindsMeOfTwilight) says:

      Personally, I think it’s ridiculous to assume that EVERY person working on these films is a fan. I’m sure there are plenty of cameramen, gaffers, costumers, makeup artists, effects guys, etc. that are grateful for the employment that the Twilight franchise has given them, but don’t care for the books or movies themselves. That is reality. People don’t always LOVE what their next job or project is, but they still do it extremely well–it’s the nature of work, getting a paycheck, and finding the gem hidden in the rough that might give you some enjoyment.

      I also think Phil Tippett’s work with the wolves is fine. I’m no effects expert, but I’m quite happy and content with the quality of the wolves. They convey the emotions and help carry the story just as they should. So props to him and his effects team! They did a great job!

      My “beef”, however, is with the condescending tone of the interviewer. I don’t even think the interviewer HAS to be a fan to properly do his job. He does, however, have to be respectful, courteous, and KNOWLEDGEABLE about the topic he’s supposed to be discussing. If he honestly believes that the Twilight fan base is nothing but a bunch of pre-teen girls, then he has NOT done his homework. The predominant demographic is women from 30-50, with PLENTY of fans younger and older than that. As Laura and Lori have said, a great story will blur those demographic boundary lines, which is why there are men and women of ALL ages who love Twilight. The core, though, are people like me, who are/were the same age as Stephenie when she wrote these great stories. But, the interviewer assumes like SO MANY other entertainment reporters that the fans are a bunch of girls with an inability to like something better. He was flippant when he mentioned storyline of the birth and acted as though it was as ridiculous. He hasn’t read the books and obviously hasn’t read much into the movie: “I’ve read SOME THINGS in particular about the storyline of the last book, and some of the sequences that were written into that novel SOUND LIKE they’d need some elaborate special effects to make it on screen. Like, I’ve heard there’s this C-section scene where a vampire baby crawls out of a girl?” That quote shows his ignorance of Breaking Dawn.

      Others, like myself, are simply sick and tired of being treated–no matter in how minor of a way–as silly girls who like a stupid story. If this interviewer was asking about a male-focused Dracula film, I bet he would have treated it differently. The two-faced handling of interviews between male driven movies and females gets REALLY, REALLY old.

      • Joshua L. Roberts says:

        The point that Phil and the reporter state is that Twilight isn’t for their demographic, and for the most part it isn’t. Twilight doesn’t have the following among older males as it does younger. The greater majority of Twilight’s following comes from its YA roots. It is from those roots that it spread to other masses, so again, I don’t see any real offense in what they said.

        Again, they didn’t trash Twilight, nor teen girls, nor Stephenie… That is their opinion. That’s all…

        Secondly, Twilighters need to get off their high horse, Star Wars fans, Trekies, Tolkien addicts have endured ages of teasing, and the greater majority of them accept it and have fun with it. Pop Culture is ALWAYS going to turn eyes and gather some ridicule.

        In short folks, Twilighters need to learn what other fandoms have learned through out the ages, be thick skinned, enjoy your franchise no matter what others state, be yourself, and do wear your feelings on your sleeve.

  4. “Well, that’s because we’re not pre-teen girls.”

    I’m really sick of hearing people say this…

  5. Brandi Rose says:

    I’m fine with Tippit not being a fan…people that work in advertising don’t always love the product they are working with but they do their best to satisfy their client, show the product in it’s best light and create something that they can be proud to put in their portfolio. Same deal for people who work on film projects. What is ridiculous is the interviewer. You may not be a fan of the project that the person you are interviewing is working on but you always show your professionalism and respect by being knowledgeable and asking intelligent, thoughtful questions. Journalism 101, man. By vocalizing your dislike for the project and asking a question about an area of effects that Tippit isn’t even involved with makes you sound like an ass and it actually insults Tippit on two counts. Way to go. Oh, and I wonder how much traffic Collider gets on their site from being linked by Twilight fansites? You don’t have to “bow down” to twilight but don’t be condescending and trivialize your readership.

    • Joshua L. Roberts says:

      Well Brandi as we only have a small part of the interview we don’t know if this interview was candid or not, so the level of professionalism needed might be in question. Also note, it is quite logical that the reporter honestly didn’t know the level of work Tippet and Tippet Studios contributed to the film. While Tippet might have worked primarily on the wolves, other sections of his studio worked on Renesmee, shots for various stages of Bella’s pregnancy, ect…ect… I think there is a total of 1000 effects shots (if not more) in Breaking Dawn 1 alone. This of course isn’t counting anything that another effects studio might have contributed…

      As for the “comments”… Again, I don’t see what the whole fuss is about. Look at Phil’s age, and chances are the reporter is probably in his late 30’s to early 40’s… If you’ve never been around older men…or older people in general, everybody under the age of 30 looks like their tweens. 😛

      Look, fellow Twilighters… if you want the world to respect you and your fanbase… you have to earn that respect. If you get offended every single time somebody says something even remotely negative about Twilight or anything Twilight related, then you are simply feeding the fire.

      Twilight, as a fanbase, isn’t being singled out, as I’ve said before… Star Wars fans, Star Trek fans, LotR fans, D&D, anime fans… have always endured the quirks of being a part of a pop culture fandom. The huge difference is… they revel in their nerdness and shrug off the gangsayers.

      In short, you can’t force people to “accept” you and if you walk around with a chip on your shoulder, reacting negatively off of every single comment made, you’re just going to prove their point and put more sticks on the pyre.

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