Tintin and I

PBS Premiere: July 11, 2006Check the broadcast schedule »

Ask the Filmmaker

Liam from Florida asks: Do you think the Tintin adventure books will ever get a mass audience in America? Why or why not?

Anders Østergaard: I doubt it, but anything can happen. If Steven Spielberg materializes his plans to produce a number of Tintin movies, then that will obviously be an incredible boost.

Patrick from California asks: I was born and raised in Brussel. A lot of the names and expressions in the French (original) version of Tintin are taken from the Brussels slang, and the characteristics and alignment of the streets in the drawings are typical of Brussels. How can Tintin been such a success outside Belgium?

Østergaard: I think Hergé cleverly balanced local accuracy with a certain understatement of Tintin's nationality. The fact that many stories are set in Belgium is never directly stated (except in very early cases). The balance gives flavor without being too exclusive.

Modules from Oklahoma asks: I wanted to know more details about what happened with Hergé's wife? It seems this part of his life affected him tremendously, yet the topic is mentioned and skimmed over. I'm very interested in how his personal life and views affected his art, so I would love for you to please tell us more about his "falling in love with the wrong woman."

Østergaard: Hergé kept in touch with his first wife Germaine until his death, paying regular visits once a week. She died in 1999, I believe.

His second wife Fanny lives on: she has re-married and heads the Hergé Foundation. For more details about Hergé's love life, try and look for Harry Thompson's book Tintin - Hergé and His Creation.

Deanna from Nevada asks: I wondered whether Hergé had developed an interest in Tibetan Buddhism? The remark that he made about "no longer being held to the ideas of angels or demons as ruling elements of his life" made me think that perhaps he had.

Østergaard: Hergé was constantly looking for an alternative to the Catholicism of his upbringing, and he became passionately interested in Eastern philosophy, particularly in his later years. Rather than Buddhism though, he seems to have settled with Chinese schools such as Taoism and I Ching as his main inspiration. I guess this corresponds well with his interest in Jungian psychology.

Jeremy from Washington asks: How were the 3D animations of the 2D Tintin panels created?

Østergaard: Most of the 3D sequences were a quite simple Photoshop Job by moving the different layers of the drawings to create an illusion of shifting perspective as the camera moves. In this particular case, I was inspired by Berstein and Morgen's innovative documentary The Kid Stays In the Picture. The sequence with the wrecked airplane was more complicated, however, as the camera had to move inwards. This required a completely redesigned CAD/CAM model of the scene.

Eddie from Texas asks: Did you like Tintin as a child?

Østergaard: I adored Tintin. He was my gateway to adventure and a general knowledge of the world. But I guess this is an experience shared by millions of Europeans, particularly in the French-speaking countries.