[embedded content]When Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh get together, there is a good chance they are creating something colossal in scope. And yes, MORTAL ENGINES is about as IMAX ready as you can get. This is a post-apocalyptic world that is ruled by rolling cities, including the fictional state of London that moves across the land destroying everything in its path. Yes, London and a number of smaller cities are all moving like a humongously large Transformer. Based on the book by Philip Reeve, this fantasy is a perfect chance for WETA to continue to impress with their imaginative expertise.
Recently, we had the opportunity to enter the world of MORTAL ENGINES at Universal Studios, Hollywood. It was all recreated on a soundstage and you could only imagine what the actual sets looked like. As well, we were given a fascinating behind the scenes look at the making of “London” from the immensely talented Ken McGaugh, and the equally talented Dennis Yu presented how one of the most intriguing characters in the film was created. Stephen Lang’s Shrike is terrifying, yet he is extremely sympathetic. With Lang’s performance and the effects behind him, this is a surprisingly layered robotic beast.
[embedded content]Afterwards, we sat down with several of the talent involved. Starting off with Robert Sheehan and Leila George, the two actors were about as delightful as you could possibly imagine. While the conversation began with a pair of very stylish pants, the two talked about playing “Tom Natsworthy” and “Katherine Valentine” and presenting their take on the characters to fans of the books. While Robert has appeared in a few wild sci-fi flicks including MUTE and GEOSTORM, this is a far bigger adventure, one where he is given leading man status. And frankly, the actor is a pretty solid hero in this kind of madness.
[embedded content]Next up, Hera Hilmar and Jihae spoke about taking on these known characters, and just how refreshing it was to work with a collaborative director like Christian Rivers. Much like Sheehan and George, the two discussed playing in such a big world, and specifically just how much of the set and design was practical. And with Hera playing “Hester Shaw,” the one who’s face is plastered on all the advertising for the film, she opened up about how strange and exciting an experience this ride has been.
[embedded content]When it comes to massive cinematic worlds, both Stephen Lang and Hugo Weaving are quite comfortable in this kind of monumental motion picture. The two discussed what brought them on to the project and what drew them to their characters. Mr. Lang talked about playing Shrike who is a bit of an unusual villain. In fact, at times it is hard to call him a bad guy at all. It is a fascinating character, and thanks to the many layers that went into him, the actor brings a surprisingly emotional impact to the role, and his relationship to Hester.
[embedded content]And finally, we spoke to director Christian Rivers, as well as Philippa Boyens. For Rivers, he was happy to share the knowledge that Jackson, Boyens and Walsh brought from their previous cinematic endeavors. This is a massive world, and the filmmaker discussed how it all came to the big screen. As for the incredible Ms. Boyens, MORTAL ENGINES was a chance to explore a new fantastical landscape that may connect with fans of LOTR. She talked about translating the book to the big screen, yet there is a wealth of material from the other books to continue into a franchise when it comes to continuing this saga. And yes, she hopes to bring fans a sequel.
[embedded content]MORTAL ENGINES is rolling into theatres this Friday! Are you ready for the ride?