July 21, 2011

Previsualization Company HALON Entertainment Brought Universal Pictures and Dreamworks Film ‘COWBOYS & ALIENS’ to Life Before Shooting Even Began

SAN DIEGO, July 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In the town of Absolution where cowboys and Apache warriors find themselves battling aliens for their survival, audiences will be awestruck by the action-packed sequences on the big screen.

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While many of filmmakers have touched the film in various capacities prior to its completion, many of those groundbreaking sequences were from the creative hands and minds at HALON Entertainment, a Santa Monica-based previsualization company.

Previsualization, or "Previs", is a technique widely used in filmmaking to conceptualize scenes in a movie before filming even begins. Today's use of digital technology has brought this crucial art form to competitive new standards. Directors are able to plan everything from camera placement and movement to lighting, without having to incur the large expenses of actual production.

Daniel Gregoire, owner and CEO of the eight-year-old HALON, worked closely with Jon Favreau, director of the Universal Pictures and DreamWorks film COWBOYS & ALIENS, from the earliest point of pre-production through to post.

Gregoire created scenes with 3D animation tools before, during and after filming on the movie began in Santa Fe. Major action set pieces with shots from Gregoire and his team appeared as early as the film's first trailer.

"I was placed in a position where Jon would convey the big picture, and I was sent off to conjure his vision with whatever means I could conceive," said Gregoire who has been the previs director for George Lucas on "Star Wars: Ep. II and III," Steven Spielberg's "War of the Worlds," and "Indiana Jones 4" and Oscar award winner Andrew Stanton's upcoming '"John Carter." "I was involved earlier than usual- traveling with the production crew and going to locations that were not even fully chosen yet."

One particular location in Santa Fe - with its complex box canyon - was particularly hard for Gregoire to recreate digitally. Instead, he took his Canon 5dmkII and shot video previs of the entire third act of the film with a stand-in. "The stand-in played all the roles" which was edited and uploaded to LA to incorporate digital elements. "It was a necessity born of the tough location and needs of the story," Gregoire said.

Favreau is just one of many directors who has benefited from a close working relationship with Gregoire and HALON Entertainment, who are known within the industry for being particularly "director-centric." The production house has also delivered memorable sequences for helmers Ridley Scott, Ang Lee, Peter Berg, M. Night Shyamalan and more. In this case, the process was particularly rewarding for both parties.

Gregoire is currently supervising a Los Angeles & UK based HALON team from location in London for previs on Paramount Pictures' "World War Z" with director Marc Foster ("Quantum of Solace").

HALON Entertainment's Bradley Alexander, partner and Senior Previsualization Supervisor, and Patrice Avery, Head of Production and Producer, will be attending Comic-Con where Favreau will be holding the world premiere of Universal Pictures and DreamWorks film, COWBOYS & ALIENS on Saturday, July 23. It will be held at the San Diego Civic Theatre. The red carpet events begin at 7 p.m., and the film starts at 8 p.m.

Alexander and Avery will be available for interviews while at Comic-Con.

COWBOYS & ALIENS and its action-packed sequences will be unveiled to audiences nationwide on Friday, July 29.

About HALON Entertainment

HALON Entertainment is a full-service previsualization company dedicated to the art of storytelling, filmmaking, advertising and development. The company has worked on high-profile films from studios such as: Paramount Pictures' "Spiderwick Chronicles," and "The Last Airbender;" Walt Disney Pictures' "John Carter;" 20th Century Fox's "Knight and Day" and "Avatar;" DreamWorks' "Kung Fu Panda;" Lionsgate's "Gamer;" and Warner Bros. Pictures' "Terminator Salvation." Outside of film, HALON has worked on television commercial reels for Halo: Reach - Deliver Hope, Mitsubishi Motors, Miller Lite and Lexus.

About Cowboys & Aliens

1875. New Mexico Territory. A stranger [Daniel Craig] with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles on wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde [Harrison Ford]. It's a town that lives in fear.

But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known.

Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been, he realizes he holds a secret that could give the town a fighting chance against the alien force. With the help of the elusive traveler Ella [Olivia Wilde], he pulls together a posse comprised of former opponents-townsfolk, Dolarhyde and his boys, outlaws and Apache warriors - all in danger of annihilation. United against a common enemy, they will prepare for an epic showdown for survival.

SOURCE HALON Entertainment