Getting critters to hit their movie marks
Austin wrangler Bobbi Colorado and her group corralled 50 animals and coached their antics for 'Furry Vengeance.'
When a movie needs animals and experienced people to wrangle them on the set, it's often Bobbi Colorado who gets the call of the wild.
Colorado and her Austin-based company, the Wild Bunch, finds and handles menageries of critters for films that are mostly shot in Texas, New Mexico and Louisiana. These have included "Year One," "Grindhouse," "Secondhand Lions," "Tree of Life," "W." and the comedy "Furry Vengeance," which opens today.
Colorado and a team of 15 trainers, led by her husband Ken Beggs, worked with 50 animals on "Vengeance." Some of the forest creatures were acquired from rescue groups, Colorado says, including several skunks plucked from furriers.
Once she saves the animals, they become part of the Wild Bunch family. "They'll be movie stars for the rest of their lives," Colorado says.
American-Statesman: Of all creatures, a raccoon is the main animal star in 'Furry Vengeance'?
Bobbi Colorado: Yes. Brendan Fraser works for a company that has come in to destroy the forest to build a community, and the animals rebel. The raccoon is like General Patton. He's in charge of the troops, all the forest animals, from a grizzly bear to otters, ferrets, squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, porcupines and owls and hawks. They do everything to make Brendan's life absolutely miserable. There's a crow that keeps pecking on his window at night to disturb him, and Brendan finally gets so upset that he goes on the roof and, of course, falls off the roof.
How much computer-generated magic helped the animals do non-animal things?
They used some CGI animals in a dream sequence, where the animals are dancing and just wreaking havoc in Brendan's house. And they used it to move their mouths. Like when the car is coming toward the squirrel or chipmunk in the road, it opens its mouth and screams. That part is really cute.
Was this one of your bigger projects?
I'd say this was the most challenging film we have ever done, because of the amount of animals and the types of animals. When you have to work with a raccoon and you do CGI, you have to have the animal sit still and look at the camera or a certain point for eight to 12 seconds without moving. Raccoons never stop moving. For one scene we had to have the raccoon in the middle of the road, staring down Brendan in his SUV, daring him to run him over. We couldn't have a mark for the animal to hit. So we had to take two screws and screw them into the pavement and teach the raccoon to touch the screws and have that be his mark.
Were there any attacks or bites? Did the porcupine shoot anybody?
No, no. Actually, the squirrels are the most dangerous. They just like to bite. They nipped us a couple times. We had grizzly bears, and the squirrels were the ones we had to watch.