The Big Picture
- Director Gareth Edwards reveals that the runtime of his film, The Creator, was influenced by the pacing of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Edwards took the advice to heart, believing that if you take longer to tell your story, you’re not trying hard enough.
- The film’s runtime was determined through trial and error, with a longer version initially loved by the team, but ultimately cut down to two hours for better audience reception.
When you gear up to bring to life a movie as ambitious as The Creator, there is one particular aspect that can make or break the chances of it resonating with the public: its runtime. Due to its world-building nature, the movie could easily get past the two-hour mark, but in an interview with Collider, director and screenwriter Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) revealed that what ultimately dictated the final runtime of his film was a cinema classic called 2001: A Space Odyssey.
During the interview, Edwards told our Editor-in-Chief Steve Weintraub that the impression that the Stanley Kubrick sci-fi masterpiece had in audiences and film critics always comes to mind when he thinks about pacing. The reason is simple: The movie covers an absurd timeline in the space of roughly two hours, so he strived to do the same with The Creator:
“There’s a film critic in the UK who said Stanley Kubrick managed to tell a story from the dawn of mankind until we evolve into being a god in two hours and ten minutes, so if you take longer telling your story, you’re just not trying hard enough. I’ve always took that to heart; it feels like they kind of got a point. So it was really a game of Jenga, like, ‘What can we remove from the film and it not fall to pieces?’ It was just trial and error basically until the clock ran out, and we got there, I hope. But it’s a fascinating experience because you show people the movie, and we had a 2:15 version of the movie which we already loved, and we played it to a bunch of people. Everyone disagreed about what they thought was right and wrong, and then the people who ran the test screening said when that happens, it tends to mean it’s too long. So we cut fifteen minutes out and got it down to two hours, played it again, and it did way, way better.”
Love Is Tearing ‘The Creator’ Apart
Edwards proceeded to reveal that cutting together a movie for a decent runtime is ultimately a game of “how can you take things out we love, and then it be better?” Indeed, it’s easy to understand how difficult it is to make that decision, especially when you consider that The Creator’s rough cut was over five hours long. So letting go of aspects or entire story arcs so that the movie will become better – or at least more watchable – is weird and doesn’t make much sense, but as the director caps it off, “that’s what happens.”
The Creator tells the story of a futuristic society in which the American government is trying to ban AI. While a resistance is formed, an army is recruited to silence voices and prevent machines from continue to inhabit the planet. The cast features John David Washington (Tenet), Gemma Chan (Eternals), Allison Janney (Mom), Ken Watanabe (Tokyo Vice), Ralph Ineson (The Pope’s Exorcist) and Robbie Tann (Mare of Easttown).
The Creator is out in theaters now. You can watch our full interview with Gareth Edwards below: