Thursday, March 04, 2010

4 days to go: Oscar producers move into the Kodak

LOS ANGELES — Oscar producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic are bridging stage and screen with an advanced, automated set at the Kodak Theatre and a super high-tech program planned for TV viewers.

After days of technical tests on their stage setup, Shankman and Mechanic moved into the Kodak Theatre Wednesday, where they're seeing their whole show come to life — in person and on screen.

"Today's the first day we're up fully running," Mechanic says. "We had three days of tech and now it's camera..."

"Camera, scripting, scenic transition, we're camera-blocking some stuff," Shankman says, finishing his partner's sentence.

"This is probably as technically advanced a show as you've ever seen or as you will have ever seen," Mechanic says.

"But what I really like about it, and yes that's true," Shankman says. "But on the monitors it actually looks much more simple in a weird way. It's elegant and it is more advanced but it's actually very focused and very simple."

Mechanic says the March 7 Oscar show "is actually probably better for TV" than many of its predecessors. Then he showed a reporter a brief, high-tech treat for TV audiences that those at the Kodak probably won't see.

The two men — Mechanic a studio chief, Shankman a producer, director and choreographer — met through the Oscar gig, and the show they're planning is "an amalgam of our talents," Mechanic says.

Other secrets the two can spill days before the big show?

No special gesture is planned to recognize victims of recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, Shankman says.

"Neither Haiti nor Chile are nominated in this show," he jokes, adding, "if political issues sneak into the show, it will definitely not be because of us."

And despite nixing performances of nominated songs, the producers say they plan to devote more time to presenting the contenders for best score.

Finally, there will be nearly 70 dancers in the show, but Oscar hosts Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin aren't likely to be among them.

Says Mechanic: "Are they putting on tutus? No."
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