In his first film since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, director Gareth Edwards is back with a sci-fi war film – THE CREATOR! During a press conference, Edwards shared behind-the-scenes information which really helped inform THE CREATOR. The film’s story is set in a future where AI inhabits our society: the robotic underclass is created to serve the human race. An event happens which pits the United States and Western world against these AI simulants and the Asian nations that still utilize them. 

In 2023 with AI threatening to take over many industries, including the film business, one would think the studio would hold off on its release. But the film uses the technology as an allegory the same way Star Trek (1966) and Planet of the Apes (1968) did with social commentary. At a recent press event, Gareth Edwards spoke about the symbolism, “We were using AI as a kind of a metaphor for people who are different to yourself. And that’s how it started. But then obviously in the past year or so, It’s become quite a reality. And it’s gotten very surreal”.

Edwards needed to make it clear that the simulant characters weren’t just mindless robots, but real characters. “The characters who are AI in this film have to see themselves as the good guys and we’re the bad guys. And as soon as you start really figuring that out, it gets really interesting and you’re like ‘oh, this has to be in the film and we have to explore it.’” 

When Edwards started writing THE CREATOR in 2018, he thought, “AI was up there with flying cars and living on the moon.” Of course, like every major technological breakthrough in the last century or so, there are always big changes to industries. “There’s a big bump in the road we have to get over…. But on the other side of it, when the dust settles, I think we all look back and go, I’m glad we have electricity…. But on the up-side it’s such a powerful tool that’s gonna help so many things in the world, that I think the positives are gonna outweigh the negatives.”

The film’s lead, Joshua (John David Washington), an ex-special forces soldier, is pulled back into service years after he’d left it behind when his wife was killed in a covert mission. Joshua’s new assignment is to find both the Creator of the simulant tech and a new weapon that will end the AI war. His intel leads him to a young girl Alphie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), a simulant who has special abilities.

John David Washington as Joshua in 20th Century Studios’ THE CREATOR.

The real story of THE CREATOR is the powerful relationship between Joshua and Alphie. When newcomer Madeleine Yuna Voyles appears onscreen you can’t help but wonder what was Edwards’ direction that guided the 9-year old actress to such a powerful performance. He gives a lot of credit to John David Washington for becoming her best friend. “Madeleine’s a very quiet shy girl. It’s really hard to become her friend. I tried the entire movie and I think she let me a little bit in….  (John David Washington) cracked the code and became a big brother to her and her best friend.” 

Between filming takes, Washington would walk into the corner of the room to keep in the head space before he went again. Edwards said “she would …run after him, hold his hand, and start talking about a toy she really likes at home…. And he’s such a sweetheart. He’d go down to her level and start getting really excited about what she was saying. And they were inseparable”. 

Madeline Voyles as Alphie in 20th Century Studios’ THE CREATOR.

Scoring THE CREATOR is the legendary Hans Zimmer. We asked Edwards  about what went into the beautiful themes. “Our influences were things actually like Bach and Mozart for the west. Then we took basically those themes that they had written and then they used instrumentation from Asia and had them earlier in the movie. So you sort of learn the theme subconsciously then you hear it in its glory later in the film.”

Edwards also spoke about the incredible visual style of THE CREATOR. “One of the things I do at the very beginning is I create a visual bible. So for each scene in the movie there’s just a stack of imagery that’s like, this is what this scene is going to feel like. Then there’s music. I create a playlist of music, and this is the music I’d like to use for this section of the film. I find it’s more useful when bringing people (crew) on.… (it’s beneficial) Having the proof of concept of something that’s a very audiovisual experience”. 

THE CREATOR utilizes visuals and sound to its fullest extent, which makes for an incredible experience in the theater. If you love spectacle, beautiful scenery, and visual effects married seamlessly with practical effects, this film is for you. If, however, loud noises and gunshots have an adverse effect, you may want to wait until you can control the audio levels in your environment. As we mentioned at the top, this is a “war movie”, with everything that goes along with that. THE CREATOR is rated PG-13 for violence, some bloody images and strong language.  

The film also stars Allison Janney, Ralph Ineson, Ken Watanabe, and Veronica Ngo. The script is co-written by Chris Weitz who was one of the writers on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. From 20th Century Studios, THE CREATOR is 2 hours and 13 minutes, and hits theaters on September 29th.

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