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Developing a comeback: The story behind 'Turok: Son of Stone'

By Rob M. Worley     February 06, 2008

Previous Installments: Part 1 | Part 2

'Turok: Son of Stone' producer Evan Baily is the first to admit that the story for the new film is the result of many creative contributors, but even he was surprised by how things took shape.

"The filmmaking process is a process of discovery," Baily told Comics2Film.

"The film is very faithful to the script, but I don't think I quite realized what the film was going to be," Baily said, adding that the film was constantly evolving as it passed through the hands of directors, storyboard artist and everyone else involved.

The script started with screenwriter Tony Bedard, and meetings that included producers Michael Uslan, F.J. DeSanto, Mike Weiss and supervising director Tad Stones.

Bedard shared his insights into the initial script development process:

"We talked through the tone that we were going for and the basic ideas of what the character was like and what were the main themes we wanted to play up. It was things like the relationship between Turok and Andar. How much of a warrior this guy was.

"Once we talked through those basic things: who the audience was going to be and the tone and level of violence, I went away and wrote the first pass on it," Bedard said. "Then we got back together and started taking it apart and putting it back together and it was a very collaborative process."

Uslan and DeSanto were also instrumental in the story's development.

"It's funny but those guys are almost like patron saints of comics in Hollywood. It seems like they're involved in so many different movies and projects," enthused Bedard, who first met Uslan during his Valiant days, and later met DeSanto during the CrossGen period.

"F.J. was in the room with us for a lot of the time. He brought a very seasoned perspective about staying true to the essence of the character but capitalizing on the storytelling capabilities of a different medium," added Baily.

For Bedard, this first experience at seeing a movie through from start to finish was an eye-opening one. He welcomed input from his collaborators.

"It was a joy really to have the wisdom and experience and creativity of guys like Tad Stones and Curt Geda and Dan Riba, guys whose stuff I've really enjoyed in the Batman cartoons and other things," Bedard said.

It was Stones who helped Baily and Bedard see why their initial take, which had a character arc similar to 'Unforgiven', was not working.

"The notion was that Turok was going to be a guy who has put away his anger and forsaken violence and combat," said Baily of that earlier take. Tensions would build until Turok boiled over.

"We got some feedback from Tad Stones that that might not be the most dynamic story for animation," Baily revealed. "Having that sort of protagonist who is hanging back, could just feel passive. We wouldn't have the dynamism and we wouldn't have Turok as the big star that we needed him to be."

Baily also has great admiration for his cast of actors on the film, especially for the leading man that gives Turok his voice.

"A lot of that brooding quality, that still-waters run deep quality that Turok has, came from Adam Beach," Baily said. "Adam's just a fantastic actor and it was one of those things where we'd been living with the material for such a long time and we thought we knew what it was, but when we heard him deliver the lines it just took on a whole new life."

Playing against Beach is 'Prison Break' baddie Robert Knepper.

"He voices Chichak, and just gave him a silken, evil intensity," Baily said. "What's great about Chichak and what's great about the way Rober Knepper played him is he doesn't think of himself as a bad guy. He thinks he's righteous."

Baily also credits Irene Bedard (no relation) with a "phenomenal" performance as Catori, which she recorded in spite of a case of laryngitis.

"I actually think that it took the performance over the top because Catori is under such duress for almost the entire time that that rawness in her voice was a bonus," Baily said.

He goes on to cite Cree Summer for portraying a "fantastic strong warrior woman," and Adam G for his work as the youthful Andar.

Baily also sings the praises of the sound design by Bob Pomann. "He designed it and mixed it and gave it a really big feel. He did everything from going out and recording and actual flint lock rifles, which fire in a two-step process...and the creativity of layering fifteen sounds, a walrus, a lion, a diesel engine running backward, to come up with a dinosaur roar, it's just magic to me," Baily said.

"You know what else blew me away, which I never expected, was the music," Bedard said. The score was composed by veteran James Venable, who is well-known to fans for his work on Samurai Jack. "The music in this thing really carries things along and gives it that sense of scope and dramatic impact."

So what does the future hold for Turok? We'll have the answer to that question as well as a few surprises in the fourth part of our interview with Evan Baily and Tony Bedard.

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