With writer – director Gareth Edwards film now released he was asked just how The Creator was created and gave this lengthy answer….
‘When “Rogue One” was over, I needed a break. I went on a long road trip with my girlfriend to her parents in Iowa. As we traveled across the Midwest, I watched the endless farmlands scroll by listening to movie soundtracks. When suddenly, there, in the midst of all the tall grass, was this strange factory. I remember it having a Japanese logo on it. I started to wonder what they were building in there. Well, it was Japanese, and I’m a science fiction geek, so my mind went straight to robots. It had to be robots, right? Imagine you were a robot built in that factory, and that’s all you had ever known, then one day something went wrong, and you suddenly found yourself outside in this field for the first time, seeing the world, the sky, what would you think?
It felt like the beginning of a movie. I found it fascinating, and by the time we arrived at my girlfriend’s parent’s house, I had the whole film pretty much worked out in my head. It’s very rare this ever happens. I took it as a good sign, and thought, maybe this should be my next film. But I hate writing screenplays. It’s like having the worst homework in the world. The only way I can bring myself to do it is to lock myself away in a nice hotel and promise to never leave until the script is finished. I was doing exactly that, in a resort in Thailand, when a director friend of mine (Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who had made “Kong: Skull Island”) was in Vietnam and invited me to join him. We spent a week traveling across the country and having just been in a creative, screen-writing headspace, my imagination was going wild the entire time. I started envisioning massive futuristic structures rising out of paddy fields, or thinking about fascinating spiritual questions that would come of a Buddhist monk being an AI. I found it captivating, and I got really excited about the idea
of something “Blade Runner”-esque being set in Vietnam I was seeing. If I didn’t make that film now, then someone else would beat me to it…I had to do this!”
I truly believe the way you make a film is just as important as the actual idea. It was important to me that we approach this film completely differently, or not do it at all. But trying to convince a major studio to do an original sci-fi epic in this era is very difficult, if not impossible. It was clear our only real hope would lie in making it for a lot less money. It was time to find that holy grail of filmmaking, where we get all the benefits of big and no-budget filmmaking. I contacted the producer of “Monsters” and tried to explain “We aren’t making a low-budget blockbuster; we are making the most ambitious indie movie ever!”
It’s easy to say that kind of thing, but what does it really mean? We explained to the studio that we were going to do everything backward. Normally in a big studio film, you first sit down with artists and design the whole world, then realize you can’t possibly find these locations and must then build giant sets in a studio and shoot everything against a green screen. I didn’t want to do that, so we went about it the other way around. We wanted to shoot in real countries, in real locations, with real people.
Then once the film was edited together, that was when I would sit down with the designers and paint over the shots to create the science fiction world on top. It was the total opposite of how you normally do this. The studios were skeptical—would this work? It all sounded a bit of a crazy gamble. So, we set out to prove it. Under the guise of a location scout, we secretly took cameras and shot a short film with just myself and my producer Jim Spencer. We went to the best locations around the world for each sequence in the film. James Clyne, one of our production designers, painted on top of the shots and fortunately Industrial Light & Magic agreed to add all science fiction on top as part of a test. It was all done incredibly quickly and for way less money than it looked. The studio was blown away, we had the green light and were off making the movie!
And that’s how The Creator was created….