The main stage at BlizzCon 2013 were treated to one hour WARCRAFT Movie presentation this afternoon from Duncan Jones (Director), Chris Metzen (Blizzard Senior VP of Story and Franchise Development), Bill Westenhofer (VFX Supervisor), Nick Carpenter (Blizzard VP of Art & Cinematic Development) and Rob Pardo (Blizzard CEO).
You can watch the full presentation below, and read the full transcript over on BlizzPlanet.
If you’ve seen The Life of Pi or The Golden Compass you’ll already be well aware of what VFX Supervisor Bill Westenhofer brings to WARCRAFT. Not only were both capable of causing many eyegasms, they also picked up Academy and BAFTA awards for visual effects. What may be even more relevant is Bill plays World Of Warcraft with a level 90 Alliance mage and several other level 80s!
Those who know Duncan from following his career so far and keeping up to date with him over on Twitter will know he’s a big gamer, and has been for a very long time. Another experienced World of Warcraft player who’s actually been visiting Azeroth since the original RTS Warcraft: Orcs and Humans released in November 1994. His knowledge of the Warcraft universe led him to keep an eye on developments of the WARCRAFT movie and upon getting the chance to direct led him to conclude after reading the script:
“I wanted it to be the Warcraft that in my heart I felt the film deserved to be. At that time it was very human-centric, very Alliance-centric. And I thought, you know, if we are going to make this into a movie, it got to be what the original Warcraft always was, which is you can be a hero no matter what side you are on; and it is about both sides. It’s gotta be red and blue.”
The chaps shared some early concept art with Duncan talking about where the film will take place:
“One of the things that we needed to work out is where the story takes place and how much of it takes place in each location in order to really give a sense of the grandness and scale of the world.”
“Paul Hirsch is right up there as a major part of modern US cinema history. If they ever carve a Mount Rushmore to film people, his face should be up there… If you don’t know who he is, and you work in film, shame on you! Star Wars. Empire Strikes Back. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ray, Mission Impossible… to name a few. Look him up, but don’t look him in the eye! He is too brilliant for the likes of us to gaze upon!”
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
The panel were really rather tight lipped on this, but what we do now know is that they are going back to the origins of the conflict between Orcs and Humans. Two factions represented by two leaders who both have the best interests of their people at heart, Lothar on the Human side and Durotan on the Orc side. As Duncan puts it:
“Both of them are protectors of their peoples. I think that in an impending war situation you just know it is coming and you can’t seem to find a way out of it. I think both of them want to do the right thing for the people that they are responsible for.”
Comparisons were drawn with the incredible work achieved by Peter Jackson in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and also the look and feel of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. Films that have set the bar high, something the gang want to at least equal if not better through the use of all the tools available from physical set building and incredibly detailed costumes, to the latest motion capture technology.
Prompted by a question from the audience on the potential of a trilogy developing from this first WARCRAFT film Duncan answered:
“I think for us right now it is absolutely about getting this first film right and making sure that we tell the story that we want to tell; but let’s be honest, if we are going to do this right and it works out, I think we would all be excited and enthusiastic about continuing the story. It is not like we have a lack of stories to tell, and we certainly have an amazing cast of characters.”
In response to another audience question regarding the rating the gang may be going for Duncan replied:
“I think we will going to be probably PG-13, but when you actually look at the films that have come out lately at PG-13, and what you can do in that, there is a constantly shifting and sliding line as to what is possible. You know, Batman movies were PG-13, and if you remember the Joker scene with the pencil … that’s PG-13. So you can get away with some [shit] in PG-13.”
Have a watch of the full presentation above when you have the time. It’s very obvious that theses guys are all pulling in the same direction to create the best cinematic representation of a much loved world, one that the World of Warcraft players feel belongs to them as much as Blizzard themselves. It’s also a world that they very much want to ensure is open to a whole new audience too.