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Saturday, 18 May, 2002, 13:15 GMT 14:15 UK
Injured Adams to serenade Cannes
Bryan Adams (centre) with composer Hans Zimmer (right) and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg
Katzenberg (left), Adams (centre) and Zimmer worked on Spirit
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By Helen Bushby
BBC News Online, Cannes

Singer Bryan Adams has said he will still be able to perform live in Cannes during the screening of animated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron despite having broken his hand.

Adams, who wrote and sang the songs on the film's soundtrack, had planned to play his guitar during the screening, but is now unable to following a motorbike accident three days ago.

But Saturday's screening of the film will go ahead with Adams just singing, while Hans Zimmer, who wrote the musical score, will conduct a group of five musicians.

Spirit is the latest animated adventure from Dreamworks

Jeffrey Katzenberg, the film's producer and a principal partner in DreamWorks studios, said at the festival that after much last-minute rehearsal, the performance would be a "first" for Cannes.

It is only the second time an animated film has been part of the official selection at Cannes, following Oscar-winner Shrek which was shown at the festival last year.

Spirit is set in North America during the era when the Cavalry were conquering the West, which included subduing and killing Native Americans, building a railtrack through the wild landscape and capturing wild horses.

It is seen through the eyes of a young stallion called Spirit, who refuses to surrender his freedom to the soldiers determined to "break" him, and forms a life-saving bond with Little Creek, an American Indian.


Adams said in Cannes he was drawn to the movie because it was a "huge experiment" because the horses in the film do not speak, and so his songs had convey "what was being felt by the horse rather than what was being seen".

He also said he relished working with Zimmer, who is head of Dreamworks studios' music department, and has written countless scores including those for The Lion King Gladiator, Hannibal, Black Hawk Down.

American actor Matt Damon
Matt Damon lends his voice to Spirit

Occasional dialogue for Spirit is voiced during key moments of the film by Oscar-winning actor and screenwriter Matt Damon, who is currently appearing on stage in London's West End.

Animating the film proved to be a huge challenge for its senior animator James Baxter, who said it was a "nightmare" drawing horses.

"They're very complex anatomically and that's why they haven't featured much in animation up until now," he said.

"Carnivorous animals are easier to draw because their eyes face forward and so it's easier for us to connect with them."

He added that they studied horses until they were "blue in the face" and learned about the animals' anatomy with experts who explained how horses' emotions affect their body language.


The animators also visited eight national parks in four days in order to be able to do justice to the sweeping landscapes featured in the film.

Katzenberg said the film was also a "first" for Dreamworks because it was their "most technologically complex animated film of any kind to date".

But he added that it still combined computer animation with hand-drawn pictures.

"It's a direct creation of life with a pencil on a piece of paper," he said. "Computers can't do that... not yet."

Katzenberg added that the movie was digitally projected in Cannes, which allowed for much more detail to be seen on screen.

But he said that with the improvement of technology came a growth in piracy, which was a "big challenge" already affecting the "analogue world" with copying of video tapes.

"I'm not expert enough to be able to answer what the solution to piracy will be, but technology will present a solution," he said.

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See also:

21 Sep 01 | Film
Shrek leads animation nods
04 May 01 | Film
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