Monday, August 04, 2008

Dragon News

This one, er, these two? made it to one year old!!

Once again, I am depressed by accounts of pet reptiles gaining fame an fortune for their owners whilst I have yet to earn dime one from any of my ungrateful critters.

(You may recall the recent indignity of not even finishing in the top ten in a recent
pet photo contest; as usual, the world fails to think I'm as funny as I think I am...)

Apparently to make it on the nightly news you need
two heads, or at least attack a few people.

I didn't see the movie Nim's Island (nor did most of America, judging from the box office) but they employed a bearded dragon for some scenes. First, the lizard in the book was an iguana, more likely to be found on a small island, especially if it were a marine iguana. I guess they changed to a Bearded Dragon because they are so tame, and perhaps due to size. Secondly, most scenes of the lizard were computer generated so they could make him do goofy things like catapult through the jungle, etc. I hate 90% of CGI images, so I don't think I missed too much.

Another, even more unusual animal joined the cast to play Fred, Nim’s Bearded Dragon, a type of exotic lizard named for the expandable pouch under its jaw that resembles a hanging beard. Despite their mythic-sounding name, Bearded Dragons are reptiles that are known for being quite docile and for enjoying human contact, which made them a great choice for the film. Ultimately, John Medlin cast five Bearded Dragons - Goblet, Steve, Crusher, Calico and Alice - who all shared the role.

"We used Steve most of the time because he would do anything,” explains Abigail Breslin. “But if he started to get a bit too active we’d bring in Goblet, then Calico, then Alice, then Crusher. That was our plan.” Goblet actually gave birth to about a dozen or more eggs during filming. The first one that hatched was called “Nim” and the second “Abigail.” Still it wasn’t always easy working with such primitive creatures for whom filmmaking is a mystery. “Lizards are real straight men. They don’t give you a lot in terms of acting range!” laughs Jennifer Flackett.

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