warcraft movie

World of Warcraft Movie is in its Final Stages of Production

World of Warcraft Movie is in its Final Stages of Production

warcraft movie

It’s difficult to fathom that it has almost been 10 years ago today that director Duncan Jones announced the concept of the World of Warcraft movie.  Now, he’s in the homestretch of completing Warcraft; with only about 50 more shots/scenes that must be filmed.

 

50 scenes sounds like a bunch doesn’t it? Well when Jones started working with Industrial Light and Magic on the film, they needed to complete well over 1,000 scenes/shots. “It’s been an incredibly ambitious thing,” Jones says. “I think we’ve delivered something pretty special.”

 

Jones faces immense pressure to quench the appetites of a huge and loyal fan base, but he also has to also deliver a movie that non-gamers will be stoked to see. As history has shown, that’s not something that’s necessarily easy. (Ex: Prince of Persia, Doom, Postal, Bloodrayne, Wing Commander, etc)

 

“We’ve delivered as far as the film goes, but the challenge is going to be to get people into the seats in the cinemas in the first place,” says Jones. “To find a way to convince people who haven’t played Warcraft.”

 

Warcraft is an origin story about a first encounter between humans and “orcs”. That means a lot of motion-capture acting and visual effects are necessary to bring those characters and their world of Azeroth to fruition. But it doesn’t mean the entire film was made on a server farm. “Motion capture has become very specialized but also still just a tool of filmmaking,” Jones says. “We tried to do a lot of large, in-camera sets so that we had an actual reality that the film was built on top of. Some of the time we had [actors doing motion capture] on location, some of the time we had them on set, sometimes there was green screen.”

 

Jones has partnered with a dream team of moviemakers, surrounding himself with two-time Oscar winner Bill Westenhofer on set in Vancouver all the time. He also had Jeff White and Jason Smith from ILM on set as well, making sure the motions he captured would work when they were wearing a digital skin. White previously worked on the design of the Hulk for The Avengers. “He absolutely nailed that character, and orcs feel like they may have some of the same genetic background as the Hulk,” Jones says. That wasn’t the only thing that made White well suited to the job. “When we found out that Jeff himself was actually an avid Warcraft player as well, it became clear how excited he was about playing in this universe,” Jones adds. “It was a match made in heaven.”

 

The Warcraft world is one that gamers have spent countless hours in, so they’ll notice if it doesn’t look right. “We worked very closely with Blizzard on the visualization of those characters,” Jones says. “We tried to stay as honest to that as possible.” To do that, ILM’s team took photographs and scans of the actors playing orcs and integrated those images with concept art done by Blizzard. “There is a translation process between concept artwork and what happens when you create 3-D models, but we had two fantastic teams on either side,” Jones says. “The ILM guys did a terrific job of taking this fantastic starting place and turning it into a living, breathing character.”

Emphasis on the might, but Jones, who says he’d like to work on a project of his own creation after Warcraft, isn’t opposed to the idea of making a sequel. “If I have the good fortune to work with the same group of people,” he says, “I’d love to.”