I was interviewed recently for one of the bonus features for the DVD release of the movie Hugo. A team associated with Paramount came to my studio to film an hour-long interview. Many of the questions I fielded were about the history of automata. This naturally lead to questions about connections between the automaton in Hugo and any historical automata. As it turns out, the automaton in Hugo is closely tied to a real automaton.
Here is a short clip from the special bonus featurette titled The Mechanical Man at the Heart of Hugo. In this segment, I say a bit about the famous Maillardet drawing automaton at The Franklin Institute. I had the pleasure of seeing the automaton in action during a visit there a few years ago. I think my reverence for the masterpieces comes through in the clip.
I particularly love how my segment transitions to Ben Kingsley's. I do hope that I set him up well.
Here is a web page where you can see the video of Dug North speaking about the Maillardet automaton.