Gareth Edwards speaks exclusively to Cinamore about The Creator answering questions about the film’s filmmaking process.
The Monsters director began his career specialising in digital effects, having also worked as the individual responsible for its visual effects. Having also previously worked on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), who worked with Edwards once more on The Creator, there was curiosity as to how the visual effects of The Creator compared, with the latest technological advancements.
“It was trying to do Monsters on steroids,” opens Edwards. “Having [ILM] do whatever really you ask of them was kind of a dream come true.
“But I tried to do the same process [as Monsters] where we could go anywhere in the world, shoot real locations – not green screen all the time – and let life in, let all the craziness, realism, and detail of the real world in.
“We went to the Himalayas, Cambodia, Japan, everywhere, and then invent the science fiction on top in post production. It’s like a very efficient, realistic, cheaper, ‘everyone’s a winner’ way of making a movie. I don’t want to go back, please don’t make me go back!”
On the topic of realisation, The Creator presents itself initially as a melding of fiction and documentary, whereby the world around us has to be accepted as true. The cinéma vérité of documentary encouraging us to accept the tampered archive as gospel. From this, it was something worth prying deeper about, especially as the original working title was ‘True Love’.
“That’s the balancing act isn’t it!” Edwards confirms before proposing a counterpoint.
“The problem is this: you don’t really want realism. Because I shot hours and hours and hours of footage, and the real version of [The Creator], is everyone on a bus for three hours travelling somewhere. People don’t really want that. They just want it to feel real.
“They want it to be this condensed pitter-patter dream that says something. So the balancing act is like trying to do something significant and different, but have it be real. And science-fiction, that crazy but real, is an interesting thing to do.”
On the flip side, Edwards says how an alternate version of The Creator may have looked, “You can go more real than this. A more real version of this would be shoot it on your iPhone, and have it be 10-hours long in real time.”
“But there’s this sweet spot between marrying those two things, and this is where I wanted to land on them. That combination of an arty documentary, and a considered defined storytelling. It’s kind of a schizophrenic hybrid.”
Throughout The Creator, Edwards’ consideration is evident, breaking the film into chaptered headings, with each forming a context on, in my opinion, the titular Creator.
“There’s lot of psychological weirdness that goes on when an audience watches a film that they’re hopefully unaware of. When we do test screenings, the film was so big, with so much stuff going on, it was a real problem to condense it.
“The second you go to black, and you have two-seconds of silence, and even a title card, you reset the audience, and now you can jump to three days later, and start the story again where no one will have a problem.
“If you do that without the black, everyone goes, ‘woah, hang on I’ve missed something, what’s going on?’, and the second you go: ‘no you’re meant to have missed something. Take a moment. Now turn the page, new chapter’ solves these big jumps that were happening in the story.
“We tried different names for the chapter headings, and as the working title was ‘True Love’, it was to reflect everyone that [John David Washington‘s Joshua] loved.”
The Creator is available to watch exclusively in cinemas.
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