Created in 1975, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a division of the Lucasfilm production company, was a major player in the field of visual effects. From what was demonstrated in the first three Star Wars films to the groundbreaking work done on Jurassic Park. form or fashion. Lynven Brennan, executive vice president and general manager of Lucasfilm, considers George Clooney’s film “The Perfect Storm” important not only for the company, but also for the history of visual effects in general.
I had the opportunity to talk to Linwen Brennan during a press conference dedicated to the documentary series “Light and Magic”, which tells about the origins of ILM and its impact on the film industry, and now it can be viewed in full by subscription to Disney+. During our conversation, I asked Brennan what she considered ILM’s greatest technical achievement, whether it was a character, a creature, a ship, or just an overall effect. She began with the following words:
There are so many of them, and they are constantly evolving and constantly changing. My simplest answer to this is the last one we did, because every day at this job we start from the beginning, thinking, “How are we going to do this?” Because everything that comes to us is actually related to solving a plot problem or getting something on the screen that is in the director’s head, but we don’t have the ability to do it. I like most of all what we just did, because then you get euphoria from the realization that you have coped. Over time, I often think that these are the ones that we know were the most difficult to accomplish. So, whether it’s water in Perfect Storm, because if you think about it, at the time when we were making Perfect Storm, there really wasn’t any digital water. And we took on a film where digital water was the main character of the film and had to make it believable. Everyone knows what water looks like. They don’t necessarily know what a monster looks like. So you can get a lot more by using the monster.
If you’re not familiar with “The Perfect Storm,” the film (which some might consider one of George Clooney’s best films) is based on the true story of Andrea Gale, a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea during the 1991 Perfect Storm. Naturally, since such conditions cannot be recreated in real life, Lucasfilm was faced with the task of convincingly embodying this turbulent water in a digital environment and making it work with footage shot by director Wolfgang Peterson and his team. Along with George Clooney, the cast of “Perfect Storm” included Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, Diane Lane and William Fichtner. “The Perfect Storm” was one of six films released in 2000 that ILM worked on, the others being “Mission to Mars”, “Adventures”. about Rocky and Bullwinkle, Space Cowboys, Pollock and pay it forward.
More than two decades after the release of “Perfect Storm,” Linwen Brennan is still impressed by how well digital water turned out in the film, but that’s not all she could say about the ILM achievements that stuck in her head. She continued:
This is what comes to mind, this feeling of relief from the moment we actually completed the work on this, to our current work on the part of digital human work that we are doing. And then Stagecraft is another example where we agreed to take on this with a limited budget, and after a while we didn’t know if we could postpone it. The ability to go into this Volume and make your brain be so deceived, it never ceases to amaze me. So this is my favorite, everything we do on Stagecraft, because it’s really wonderful how they promote it in every episode.
StageCraft is a virtual production technology on the set, consisting of video walls, which was originally developed for the Star Wars series “Mandalorian” and has since been used not only in productions set in a galaxy far, far away, but also in Marvel films such as “Thor”: “Love and Thunder”, the upcoming “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantum Mania”, as well as DC films such as “Batman” and the upcoming “Black Adam”. These objects, also known as “volumes”, have already made a splash (to borrow from the “Perfect Storm”) in the visual effects industry, and even knowing how StageCraft appeared, Linven Brennan continues to be amazed at what this technology is capable of.
Lucasfilm’s next upcoming product will be the Star Wars series Andor, and upcoming 2022 films featuring ILM’s work include Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Avatar: Path to Water. To keep up to date with all the latest developments in cinema and television, follow CinemaBlend.