Parallel action during test shoot and casting. "LOOKING FOR TIGERS"

You will be surprised to learn the number of tigers in captivity around the world exceeds 10,000 individuals. We spoke to tiger wranglers in South Africa, in the Middle East, in the United States and in the Far East. We sent some basic shots and had the tigers trained for on line auditions. This was a very difficult phase as we were just not satisfied with the options that were available to us. Finally we were introduced to the only tiger wrangler in the world that had the experience of filming and even won some of the most coveted trophies for his line of work; Eric Weld from Hollywood Animals. Having done some of the most popular films that were based on animals, Eric had the reputation to deliver. He was instantly interested in working with us, not because of our good looks but it was our approach that he found to be perfectly suitable. Years of experience with Hollywood behind him, Eric was yet to come across filmmakers who wanted to film the animals first then the surrounding action. We selected 3 of the largest Bengal tigers from Eric’s ranch. After months of training we finally got a call that the tigers were ready to shoot. The task ahead of us was not as simple as it sounds. We had over 180 shots to take with 3 cameras and recording Meta data of every camera. This in itself was a first even for Eric and his team.

The shoot was very successful and we got more footage than we expected. Even the out-takes were used in our film. Some interesting things during the shoot require a mention. We had this tigress names Shika. She was doing all the big action shots for us, the jumps, leaps etc. she was a very stubborn pampered tigress. Every time we used her for the shot we had to play loud rock music otherwise she wouldn’t perform. So in the heart of Los Angles, one of the largest studio floors resonated with tracks as varied as Def Leopard and Angel Haze and could easily fool a passerby to believe it was a nightclub. Of course our Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookutty was not at all pleased with this arrangement. He had insisted to record as much live sound as possible. The other tigress we used was called Asia. Her idiosyncrasy was that she enjoyed working in frigid conditions. So we had to add another 60 tons of air-conditioning to the existing 150 tons. Now most of the crew who were dressed in summer shorts and t-shirts were off our set. Even the LAPD and the representatives from the American Humane Association who were certifying the film, were all huddled up next to the huge lights for warmth and pondering over the mutation of the tigers which are meant to be beasts of the tropical wild.

All in all the positive start of our principal photography gave us optimistic confidence for the direction we were moving in.