There are a number of different ways that a filmmaker can attempt science-fiction on the big screen. You can green-screen your entire production, and fill the rest in with cutting-edge VFX, a la James Cameron and the world of Pandora for the Avatar films. Others make use of the natural world, but punch it up to make it seem like the future isn’t that far off, like when Arnold Schwarzenegger faced off with The Predator in the midst of the dense jungle. This is the approach that Gareth Edwards is taking for his upcoming sci-fi thriller The Creator, tickets for which are on sale starting today. Though it’s set in a world where A.I. has risen up against humanity, the world still very much looks like ours, and Edwards found amazing locations around our planet to ensure that look was achieved.
CinemaBlend and AMC Theatres got the opportunity to sit down with Gareth Edwards ahead of tickets going on sale for The Creator, and we spoke about his process heading into his first movie since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. And he explained how he learned how liberating it can be on a movie to have a reduced budget, because of how creative you get. It forces you to get smaller, to get more intimate, and to make the most use of your resources. And he told us:
The main way we did it was working backwards. Normally what happens is that concept artists – you sit with them and you design the film. You get all of this amazing imagery. You show it to the studio. They say, ‘Oh, we love it! But this is $200 million, and the only way you can pull this off is to film it against green screen in a studio. We were like, ‘We don’t want to make that kind of film.’ So what we tried to talk people into was that we were going to go around the world to the best locations there were … for instance, when you weigh up the price of building a set versus the cost of flights for the crew to go to the greatest place on Earth, if you’ve got a small enough crew, it’s cheaper to go there. … So we shot in Japan, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Nepal. It was crazy.
The way that Gareth Edwards described it, he was returning to his independent, guerilla-style roots that worked on his first movie, Monsters (which almost got a sequel back in the day). He maneuvered with an incredibly small crew, captured the locations that he needed, then worked with ILM to paint over footage that he’d actually captured to add in the futuristic elements. It’s all pretty clear in the trailer for The Creator, which you can watch here:
Was there one location that surprised him the most? Gareth Edwards explained to us:
Kathmandu, in Nepal, is like the Disney World for cinematographers. When we scouted that – because I took the camera with me, and some of the shots are in the movie – at the end of that day, I thought, ‘That’s the greatest day I’ve ever had in my life of filming.’ Everywhere you looked were these incredible faces, this amazing light, and temples and things… cows just walking through, and funeral pyres. It was just insanity.
We’re very excited to see how all of this plays out when The Creator opens on September 29. We were lucky enough to see some early scenes of the film. It’s one of our most anticipated upcoming 2023 movies, so grab tickets now, and make sure you are ready for The Creator once it arrives!