The countdown is on. Gareth Edwards’ The Creator official hits theaters in less than a month. To commemorate the occasion, Tuesday evening he participated in a LIVE Q&A telecast in IMAX. Not only were we lucky to be in attendance, but we’ve compiled all of the biggest highlights from the event to hype you up for the film even more.
Although the presentation only lasted 1 hour long, there were numerous nuggets of information he graciously shared with moderator Scott Mantz and the audience. Probably the biggest – and most surprising – was that the film’s production was very intimate. One look at the trailer and many will find that hard to believe. The visuals alone evoke similarities to Star Wars (which Edwards is no stranger to of course) and Blade Runner, But Edwards said that he was aware at how expensive the concept was from the beginning. So when he pitched the film he also pitched the idea of shooting on-location to cut costs. This, as opposed to shooting the entire thing on a soundstage.
Now, Edwards did say that some scenes were shot using Disney’s The Volume, which The Mandalorian is known to use heavily, but he also alleges that the majority of the film was shot across 80 (yes, 8-0) locations all over the world. Some of those locations include Nepal, Taiwan, and Tokyo.
When it comes down to influences, Edwards specifically called the film “a cross between Apocalypse Now and Blade Runner.” While those references are aesthetically clear, it’s hard not to be reminded of other contemporary sci-fi war films such as Children of Men and District 9.
During the Q&A, Edwards was specifically asked about the film’s inception and whether he meant for its exploration of A.I. to be so timely. To that question, he admitted that the timing had been somewhat strange but that he had actually been working on the film since 2018. Rather than start with a script, he would come up with interesting concepts and pay some of his artist friends to bring them to life on paper. He then started compiling all the images into a mini portfolio. When he finally had a story in mind, he used the portfolio as a way to pitch it.
Regarding the premise of the film, Edwards said that the film’s setup was “pretty much the last few months.” He alleged that in his world, A.I. has a minuscule presence until it doesn’t. He says that at the beginning of the film a major event happens that literally divides the world. On one hemisphere, the A.I. culprit is perceived to be a modern day Osama Bin Laden, while on the other hemisphere it perceived as a God.
Stuck between both worlds is John David Washington’s character named Joshua. When we first meet him, he is a perfect culmination of humanity and technology because is a human who heavily relies on advanced prosthetics for injuries he’s sustained as a former soldier of some kind.
Edwards praised the collaboration with John David Washington and even revealed that the actor was a major Star Wars fan. However, he also said that fans should pay attention to Ken Watanabe’s performance. Watanabe plays an A.I. character that Edwards says is so expressive in his face alone that it reminded him of watching a character in a Kurosawa film. Edwards also noted that he broke his “rule” of not re-teaming with any actors from a previous film for Watanabe because he believed he was born to play this role.
One of the last things Edwards revealed during the Q&A was that the original cut for the film was 5 hours long. While it’s unclear what time final runtime is now, after being screened 3 exclusive and elongated clips from the film, we know why it was so hard for Edwards to cut it down. Without giving too much away, from what we’ve seen, we would not be surprised if it becomes immortalized as another sci-fi classic in the vein of Edwards’ influences.
Directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One, Godzilla), the film stars John David Washington (Tenet), Gemma Chan (Eternals), Ken Watanabe (Inception), Sturgill Simpson (Dog), newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles and Academy Award® winner Allison Janney (I, Tonya). The film’s screenplay is by Gareth Edwards and Chris Weitz, from a story by Edwards. The producers are Gareth Edwards, p.g.a., Kiri Hart, Jim Spencer, p.g.a., and Arnon Milchan. The executive producers are Yariv Milchan, Michael Schaefer, Natalie Lehmann, Nick Meyer, and Zev Foreman.
The official synopsis is as follows:
Amidst a future war between the human race and the forces of artificial intelligence, Joshua (Washington), a hardened ex-special forces agent grieving the disappearance of his wife (Chan), is recruited to hunt down and kill the Creator, the elusive architect of advanced AI who has developed a mysterious weapon with the power to end the war… and mankind itself. Joshua and his team of elite operatives journey across enemy lines, into the dark heart of AI-occupied territory… only to discover the world-ending weapon he’s been instructed to destroy is an AI in the form of a young child.
The Creator hits theaters exclusively on September 29th.