pacific rim uprising box office projections

What are some things in this movie that reflect the CG elements you’re talking about – things that people might not immediately associate with CG? Were there any that you thought were integrated particularly well in the background or anything like that?

Oh, man. So many things. There’s one shot that when we were reviewing it in the room, I forgot that none of it was real. It’s when Jake comes out of the hatch in the jaeger in Sydney. The hatch was real. That was the only thing that was real about that. Just that hatch. None of the arm, nothing that he lands on – all of that was just boxes with green screen on it. I remember seeing it on the review and thinking, ‘Wow, that set looks really good,’ and then I remembered that’s not even real!

You made headlines last year when you mentioned that there’s been discussion about the chance of Pacific Rim crossing over with the King Kong and Godzilla movies. Have there been any more conversations about that idea?

Just in my own head. I don’t want anyone to think that was an official Legendary thing. That was Steve DeKnight the fanboy talking about what he would love to see. I have an idea, a plan for the third part of this Pacific Rim trilogy that would open up the universe and allow that crossover if Legendary wants to. It’s totally up to them. As a fanboy, I would love to see it. But if they want to keep it separate, I’ll still be paying for my tickets to see Kong, Godzilla, and more Pacific Rim.

I know you’re doing press all day today and you’re probably hearing a ton of the same questions over and over again. I want to turn things over to you for a minute and ask: what aspect of the movie would you like to talk about that you haven’t been asked about yet?

Obviously with a movie like this, a lot of the concentration is on the action, the CGI, the monsters, the jaegers. For me, what makes this movie really work are the characters and the interactions between the actors. I think for a movie like this to really succeed, you’ve gotta like the characters, you’ve gotta be drawn in by the characters, you’ve gotta hate the characters in the right way. Otherwise it’s just noise and spectacle with nothing going on. One of the great things that Guillermo and [Pacific Rim writer] Travis Beacham did with this concept was putting two people inside a giant mech with the idea that you have to have two people working together. That soul in the machine is so important to this movie. Otherwise, that final battle in Tokyo would just be non-stop CGI. But instead, you have this human element that really grounds it and makes it more interesting, more emotional, and more fun.

Speaking of the human characters, you’ve got John Boyega leading this movie. He’s so charismatic. He has that undefinable thing that whenever the camera is on him, he’s just a movie star up there. Tell me about working with him.

Oh, man. My DP, Dan Mindel, and I, we would sit and review the movie in various formats for color correction, and every time John came on screen, we’d both look at each other and say, ‘He’s a movie star.’ There’s a definite difference between a great actor and a great actor who’s a movie star. The first time I ever encountered that was I worked with Hugh Jackman briefly on a TV show. He walked into a room, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I understand. There is a genetic difference between the two species.’ And John, man, he just has that movie star quality, and I’m really excited for people to see him in this movie. He’s not the same as in Attack the Block, he’s not the same as Finn in Star Wars. To me, he’s a young Harrison Ford. He’s roguish, he’s handsome, he’s funny, he’s daring, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He can do the emotion. He just has it all. I think he’s going to get bigger and bigger, and rightly so.

You mentioned Dan Mindel. He’s the same guy who shot The Force Awakens with J.J. Abrams. What was your relationship like with him, coming up with the look of the movie?

Dan’s a genius. He’s one of the best cinematographers out there. When you’re starting the prep for a movie like this, the studio sends you lists of possible costume designers, production designers, cinematographers, and I think the cinematographer was vital for this movie. I was going through fantastic names of people I’d love to work with, and then I saw Dan Mindel and I levitated off my chair. I thought, ‘There’s no way I’m ever going to be able to get him, but I’m putting his name at the top of my list.’ He came in and we met. Dan’s a fantastic guy, a very funny guy, but you need to get to know his personality. He came in, we talked, he left, and I told my associate producer Brook Worley, ‘No way he’s going to do this movie.’ And she had worked with him before, and she said, ‘No, I think he’s going to.’ Sure enough, the next day he signed on. And I think it made all the difference. We both really wanted to shoot this in 2.40 instead of 1.85, even though 1.85 lends itself to giant monsters and jaegers. I love the 2.40 format. To me, there’s just something so cinematic about it. He also thought we should shoot with anamorphic lenses, which I also love. All of that combined, the movie is so rich and layered, and he’s such a big part of that.

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Pacific Rim Uprising arrives in theaters on March 23, 2018.

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