Interviews Alita:Battle Angel chez Weta Digital (ft. Rosa Salazar)

You know the genesis of this movie came out of guillermo del toro approaching Jim Cameron and myself and saying I have a property that I think you guys might be interested and he Showed us a lead of battle angel and Jim Cameron instantly fell in love with it He fell in love with the idea of this innocent naive Girl and her coming-of-age story a story where she realizes that inside of what she thinks is an insignificant Body, she has the ability to make a difference and that’s what God is very excited Jim Cameron Wanted to direct Aleta and he spent five years getting a script to a point that he was happy with it at that same juncture We looked at the landscape of where technology was at and we felt that we could make a movie that Jim had actually written ten Years earlier a movie called avatar and once Jim got into doing avatar And once we realized that we’d be making a series of sequels We realized we had to find another filmmaker to parent our baby with he had a social lunch with just a lunch with Robert Rodriguez and Robert Asked you know They were talking other things and he said hey what if you’re so busy with all of the new avatar movies and what happens to? Two movies like Alina, you know, he’s I was really excited to see it. He’s a big movie fanatic And he said I want to know what happens. I want to see that movie and James said if you have a few minutes I can I can show you where I’m at and he brought out a 600 page Document and he said if you can crack this you can do a leader I briefly had talked to John and Jim back in 2006 before avatar When Jim was was still debating which movie he was going to work on And then things happened like they did and I ended up going onto avatar and in other movies and then three years ago I walked into Jolla Terry’s office. Mmm, and he said hey this movie that from all this time ago is Gonna happen now. What do you think you do be involved and I said hell, yeah, I can’t wait Because I had I had read part of the script and I had read the manga And I thought man this is going to be great Who’s gonna direct it? And he said Robert Rodriguez, and I said, oh my god because I’m a huge Robert fan and and then Robert showed up the next week and we had our first meeting about it and It was just went on from there Well, my job is to oversee everything that goes through mostly focusing on some of the the harder technical aspects and in this case, it was really Aleta and trying to capture the detail of her face because Rosa Just gave us a very spirited performance. I was just very connected with the material and I owned her and I Was very emotional and I think that that’s what they wanted for Aleta. They wanted someone who was very Emotional and able to express that the very expressive face And I I think I conveyed that so we’ve all raised her together at that point. So that was about two years ago She had a lot of nuance and it was really you know Kind of tricky to to take what she was doing and to take it to this character that has a very unique You know shape to the face where he’s got a smaller mouth and these bigger eyes Makes sure that that’s you know appealing but still you understand that it’s not human and You understand and connect with the emotions in terms of the performance capture suit What it did was it created a blank slate? I? Didn’t have to be concerned with superficial elements like what my face Looked like if the makeup was right if the hair was right if the Wardrobe was right These things serve to help you and inform the character in a live-action sense, but it was such a gift to not have to worry about those things Performance capture is doing as much as possible as you can to record the actors performance in many different ways in three dimensions Not just two-dimensional as you would photograph it But then you go through this process of translating that performance to the character. You’re constantly looking and making sure that the thing we started with is translating correctly onto the final product onto those final shots and Because there are differences because you know Aleta is not Rosa Salazar You have to understand that when Rosa does something You know particular and you feel an emotion for that How do you understand that same, you know emotion from Aleta depending on? Different scenes and that what Robert needs in different scenes. Sometimes we go to keyframe animation and depending on the characters a lot of We’ve got a lot of mech robots and different crazy designed Characters that we all we can do is keyframe the animation for those characters. Keyframe animation again It’s you know, it’s history goes back to you know You you do a drawing you do another drawing and you figure out the drawing in between, you know And you string those together until you have a moving performance in digital animation in keyframe animation It’s the exact same process we look for a very strong beautiful pose of Aleta or a robot and then we figure out another really strong beautiful pose and We figure out the one in between and we string those together until we have physical performance that we love and you know, I think for this film We had said we have such a strong team of very talented Animators working with us some some from France and yeah, yeah. Yeah, so The the neat thing is those guys were very in love with the manga and you know, very familiar with the manga and when they what they brought to the film it was you know, like really beautiful like almost, you know, the poses were like drawings, you know, and they would pour on you know, Just one frame. They would just Elevate the pose and and the end the shot. And so you have very dynamic almost You know manga s looking shots And so it was really excited being for me because they brought a level of energy To the project and I think that’s visible in the final result we wanted to make sure we were taking as much of cash eros heart and soul of the manga and Putting it into this film So we we spent a lot of time looking at the manga pulling out images pulling out still friends even poses hairstyles or even the way the hair was moving in certain shots and getting that into Our film Robert and John looped in Kushiro very early on and Jim they looped in kashira and And worked with him They wanted this work to be true to the manga. I mean that’s always been a criticism right like Everyone that watches any movie that’s been adapted from a manga has That’s always been the biggest criticism Like it doesn’t look like a manga it’s completely different and we we wanted to make sure we weren’t going to fall in that category We were worried about it as well and we were very conscious as we went through the process to make sure that we lived up to the commitment that we made to Kushiro when we first talked to him about acquiring the rights that When he saw the movie, he would feel that it was of his world There was so much of it brought into the script itself from Jim and Robert That we needed to make sure visually we were hitting the same thing The very early animatics Animatics are when you take a bunch of storyboards and you string them together and you play them as a movie But it’s just still images Those very early automatics head Frames from the manga cut into them because Robert wanted shots that had though that that framing or those poses or that energy and so Because we were are shot construction was built from the foundation on frames out of the out of the comic book We’re always referring back and going does that have the same energy as? Gojira’s drawing inside it and so, you know you again you’ve got a foundation that is that thing and you’re building on top of that and kind of always referring back to it making sure that you’ve got strong posing and lines of action and It the energy and life that those drawings had what is always? pushing the bounds of technology and always trying to Work on new technology that allows us to do things just I won’t say more efficiently because it’s sometimes it’s much less efficiently and and In ways that it just makes it more real and begets better results so It’s things like hair solves so our hair for Aleta is solved completely different than we’ve ever done It’s we’re solving individual hairs on her head So they’re all colliding with one another And moving and when she jumps in the water it Simulates the water onto her hair. So we’re we’re calculating the water surface on her hair Or the her eyes were simulating. It’s the first time we’ve ever simulated her eye Fibers to basically age the eye fibers in her eye through a simulation to create more realistic eyes super high-resolution eyes With detail in them that is just absolutely insane the the amount of geometry and one iris is more than we had in Gollum for Lord of the Rings you told me alia that this movie involves about two thousand people over four years So how as a producer? How can you manage something like this? You know every movie presents its own challenges from a producer really managerial, you know standpoint You know, we’ll have, you know close to 2,000 people who have worked on a lead I think what you try and do on these movies is you try and recognize each person Stealing something from Avatar Where names name theory says I see you and that means she sees the people so whenever I have an opportunity to acknowledge Somebody who’s on the movie who’s worked hard? Even if they’re in the backroom I try and take that opportunity and acknowledge to them that they are contributing to the end result Thank you


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