The Big Picture
- Director Gareth Edwards managed to bring his ambitious vision for The Creator to life with a realistic budget, showcasing impressive landscapes and special effects.
- Edwards and his team chose to find real-life locations that fit the story rather than building sets, using special effects to enhance the scenes.
- The result was a visually stunning film that impressed both the VFX team and studio executives, leading to increased possibilities for more affordable yet impactful movies in the future.
One of the most impressive aspects of The Creator is the ambitious landscape of the movie and how it was done with a limited budget. In an era in which blockbuster movies are greenlit with astronomical budgets, director Gareth Edwards (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) managed to bring his vision to life with a cost that was far more realistic for a big studio like 20th Century to take a risk. In an interview with Collider, the filmmaker talked about how he managed to do it.
During the interview, Edwards explained to our Editor-in-Chief Steve Weintraub that the basic decision that was the game-changer in terms of production was going out into the world and finding locations that fit the story rather than building scenarios inside a studio lot. The idea was also to use real-life landscapes and just enhance them with special effects, rather than build them from scratch.
“So what happened was we talked about this process with Industrial Light & Magic, and obviously, everyone’s nodding but thinking, ‘Oh my god, what are we getting ourselves into?’ And so we did a little test, and we didn’t tell the studio, but they gave us some money to go on a location scout, so we went to Tokyo, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia… And I took a camera with me that had a 1970s anamorphic lens and shot a little teaser, short, nonsense thing, and then essentially basically tried to sort of prove this theory and do exactly what we do in the movie and give it to ILM. We didn’t have any tracking markers or dots or any data or any silver balls and all those things you see, we just [gave] it to them. All they had was the footage, and we went, ‘Can you figure this out?’”
Real-Life Magic Happened With ‘The Creator’
Edwards reveals that the result was a lot more impressive than he could have imagined: The ILM team took the footage and tracked it all to the computer, and “stuff that would normally take, like, a month to do, we were doing in a couple of days or so.” This happened because the VFX team didn’t need to map an entire city, but rather just project the footage and then add what was necessary to make the shot look as good as possible. The response from the executives was even more exciting: “We showed that to the studio, and for the money we had done it for, they were like, ‘Oh, if you can make a movie like that, we’re in,’ and so we got green-lit basically.”
The Creator has already made history when it comes to filmmaking, and chances are big studios may start to consider taking a bigger risk (but not that big) to greenlight stories that are not too expensive to make and also worth the risk of bringing it to audiences. At the same time, a smaller budget for a big movie might give more control to directors and screenwriters who may see less studio interference when dealing with a project that costs way too much to bring to life.
The Creator is playing in theaters now. For more you can watch our extended interview with Edwards below.