Duncan Jones Interview with Mtime On WARCRAFT And Daniel Wu

Mtime Interview WARCRAFT Director Duncan Jones
Towards the end of 2014 (Happy New Year by the way) Duncan gave his first interview on WARCRAFT to Chinese movie news site Mtime. This is the first time Duncan has spoken about WARCRAFT outside of presentations at BlizzCon and Comic-Con so it’s quite a coup for Mtime. I’ve been up all night translating it for you*…

First up Mtime asked Duncan for a progress report on WARCRAFT.

We are coming to the very end of 2014, and the film has been shot and we are finishing the editing.  There are so many complicated special effects in the movie, that it will take a while longer before the film will be complete.

The special effects will be very impressive though.  They are being done by ILM, who are best known for their work on the Star Wars movies.

Heading up the work are visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhoffer, who won an oscar for his work with Ang Lee on Life of Pi, and Jeff White at ILM, who made the Hulk such an excellent and believable character in the Avengers movie.

While this work is going on, music composer Ramin Djawadi continues to build up a magnificent score for the film.  As we complete our edit, Ramin’s music is being tailored to the cut.  I am very excited.  Day by day our film gets closer to being finished!

Warcraft is scheduled to be released in March of 2016, so we have 14 months to make the film as good as we can!  I very much hope you will enjoy it.

Daniel Wu Plays Gul'Dan in WARCRAFT - March 11th 2016

Being a Chinese based site it’s no surprise Mtime were very keen to find out more about Daniel Wu’s performance in WARCRAFT as supreme Orc ruler Gul’dan.

Daniel is a handsome man in ANY part of the world!  I am fortunate I married my wife before she had a chance to meet him, or maybe she would have tried to marry him!  He is not just good looking though.  He is incredibly talented and hard working.

The funny thing is I knew of Daniel long before Warcraft.  He and I had heard about each other through a mutual friend.  When we had a chance to work together, it was almost like we already knew each other!  He is a great guy, and a very talented actor.

In all of my films, I try to do two things; cast the strongest actors I can find for the part, and offer each actor something new, something they have not had the chance to do before, in a role that excites them.  I was very fortunate that Daniel loved the crazy idea I had for him!  He plays the handsome lead so much, that for him, this was something very different!

Daniel has definitely put his own stamp on the character… and that is how it should be.  You don’t hire great actors to crush their individuality by forcing them into a mould you have in mind!  You find a way to blend the character and the man, and get a performance that is rooted in something that is honest to them.

But of course, there is a lot of expectation for Warcraft, and an audience that has strong ideas on who and what the characters should be.  This is a good challenge, and one I know Daniel was excited to take up!  He had one very important fan of the game to impress; his wife!  She has played Warcraft for a long time, and was very serious that he get Gul’dan just right!

Daniel, like everyone involved, invested all his energy in creating a unique but recognizable character the audience will believe in!  He is everything you could hope for in a serious actor.

There was some concern though that fans of Daniel’s may not see too much of him in WARCRAFT.

I understand the concern!  …and I am very aware of how cynical the film business can be in this area!  But please do not worry.  Gul’dan is a central character, who is pivotal to the film’s story!  You will see a lot of him, but… you will not see Daniel Wu in the way you expect! 😉

It’s clear there is a very big interest in Daniel Wu’s Gul’Dan, but does Duncan have any favourite characters, and how does he see the relationship between the two opposing factions in WARCRAFT.

As you may know, there has been a long history of trying to make a Warcraft film, and for a number of reasons, it never quite happened.  I was lucky.  When I went to talk to Chris Metzen and the guys at Blizzard, we both saw things the same way.  A Warcraft film should not be about a good race of humans battling an evil race of orcs!  Warcraft should be about heroes on both sides trying to avoid a conflict, when villains leave them no choice.

As for favourites, I cannot do that!  I am like a parent now!  They are all wonderful in their own ways.  I hope that with our film, the audience will get a chance to see past the Horde/Alliance divide and recognize the heroes on BOTH sides!

…but if pushed, and you want to know one of my favourite characters, Durotan is very special to me. 😉

Mtime also had concerns that one film may not be enough to tell such a huge fantasy story, and wondered if a trilogy may be on the cards.

Peter Jackson did a magnificent job of “setting the table” for Tolkein’s universe with his first Lore of the Rings film.  I know that my job in this first film is to establish certain characters, places and culture while telling a story that a broad audience can be excited by!

Hopefully, if I have done my job right, people will want to know and see more!  There is certainly plenty more to tell!  …I would love to be part of that process of expanding on the lore that makes up Warcraft, but it will all depend on what you, the audience, think of our first film!

From the moment I first talked to Blizzard, the plan was to start our film with the first time Orcs met Humans.  First contact!  I think that for a world with so much newness to explain, this was a wise choice, especially when so many people in our audience may not know anything about Warcraft… it was important that some of our characters would be seeing the world fresh as well, and that the audience could see the situation through their eyes.

A new world for new eyes is one thing, but will there be any incentives in game in World of Warcraft for the dedicated fans.

It would be wonderful if there could be that kind of cross-platform excitement happening when the film is released.  I know there are many ideas, but at this stage, it may be a little too early to know what will happen!  Blizzard are very good at what they do though, and what I do know, is that they are very proud of the film!  I’m sure there will be exciting things that happen closer to the film coming out.

Will we see any new characters introduced to the world?

You will have to wait and see!

Our story takes place at a very particular moment in the lore time-line.  There are some new characters, and some that already existed, but who may not be that well known.

There will be a great deal to think about, for those who are deeply knowledgable about the Warcraft lore.

Finally Mtime asked:-

Will the film spend a large amount of time on the failure of the first contact between Human and Orc? Gul’dan’s betrayal leads to the failure of Horde in the first contact. Will the film spend a large amount of time on that part? Is Lothar and Doomhammer’s fight going to be a climax in the film?

Again, these are questions best answered by watching the film!  Hopefully, I will be able to come to China when the film is released, and you can ask me questions in person!

WARCRAFT starring Daniel Wu (and quite a few other people too) will be out NEXT YEAR! March 11th 2016.

Thanks to our old friend Jessie Rong for the link to Mtime 🙂

*Of course I didn’t really translate it, I left that to a Pandaren called Cheezepuff.

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