Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

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Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby tehCal » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:33 am

I recently had a chat with Christian Pearce from WETA about their contribution to the concepts in Fury Road, and learned that due to legal issues, they are restricted from being able to show any of their art, which is a real shame. Christian was kind enough to answer a few questions for the forum!

Q: In the Fury Road behind the scenes WETA interview that is on YouTube, you see a lot of art from you folks, including specific car and bike designs under the codename "Rustbucket", much of it notably from Aaron Beck. What is the policy on this art being released? Is WETA only able/willing to release it with agreement from Warner Bros or is it at your discretion?

A: This is a very weird situation for us that I still don't really understand. We did a couple years work, hundreds of pieces of concept at and would have hours long calls with George Miller and Colin Gibson each week, getting very deep into the specifics of the characters and vehicles. It was incredibly rewarding and I think many of us felt it was the best work we’d ever done. We were all very surprised and disappointed to see we didn’t receive a credit on the film or have a single piece in the Art of Fury Road. We have also learned that we will not be allowed to share any of the artwork we created. I honestly have no idea why this has happened, it sucks. We work on a lot of projects and it’s not that unusual to be told to not share the artwork but for this one that we worked so hard on and were so blown away by the final film, it’s kind of a bummer. The Mad Max films were such an inspiration to many of us growing up that it was a real dream to work on Fury Road. I personally felt really lucky to contribute to it.

Q: To your understanding, how many of the vehicles in the film evolved directly from WETA designs as opposed to being designed in-house by the fabricators in Sydney, and were there any (aside from star vehicles like The War Rig and the Gigahorse) that stayed pretty true to WETA's concepts?

A: I can see our work all through the vehicles although Brendan McCarthy’s designs are the most evident. We had design briefs that would go on these loooong conceptual art journeys over dozens of drawings to get a final approved design. Then quite often after that we’d be shown one of Brendan’s pieces done years before and it was pretty much the same design! It was odd. I guess George just wanted to make sure he was happy with the direction and was kinda confirming it to himself by going on a similar journey with us. I wouldn’t like to comment on too many specific vehicles, there’s a lot of overlap.

Q: I saw a slide marked "Rockrider #4" which was a concept of both rider and bike; did many of these individual costume concepts translate to film largely unchanged?

A: I haven’t been back for a closer look at the film yet but it seemed to me that we had a number of costumes make the leap onto film largely unscathed

Q: Did you guys eventually get to see a definitive list of which designs were chosen by Miller and co for use?

A: Ha! I wish! After delivering our final work things went quiet for us for a couple years as they shot the film and went into the post production phase. Sadly for us we had no more contact after delivering our final designs and props. Still, it made the film extra-striking to watch for the first time, quite often we’re working on these projects right up til the last minute and you’re kind of tired of it when you watch it. Not so with Fury Road, I think we were all pretty blown away by it at the crew screening. I have some mixed feelings now about the whole project but there’s no denying it is a fantastic piece of theatre and I’m proud of my work and everything Weta contributed, despite the lack of any supporting evidence! haha

Q: Did you have a favourite car design? And was there one that specifically maintained elements that you came up with?

A: Nux's car was a big one for me, I must have done 50 or more illustrations for that car, breaking down every element of it. I was super impressed that they managed to get the turbocharged, blown v8 actually working! I'd put that in the designs assuming they'd fabricate it out of fibreglass or something but it seems they built an actual working rig. Amazing!
The Doof Wagon was another one I really enjoyed working on. I'm a drummer so I really wanted to have a crack at it. One of the ideas that didn't make it to the final build was I thought it'd be cool for the drummers at the back to have double bass drum setups lined up. They'd still be playing the taiko-styled ones with their hands/sticks but there'd be a 12-drum heavy metal assault being hammered out with their feet too.


Q: Weta designed all the less featured background cars too, yes? I imagine so from what was shown in the behind the scenes video, but it's harder to find information about the various Claw Cars and Fire Cars. My favour has to be the Monaro with the flamethrower -- built on a Ford F-100 body apparently. I might be reaching, but do you remember anything notable about that one?

A: Oh yeah! That claw car came out rad. The car builders did an absolutely unbelievable job right across the board. I'd done a bunch of em based on El Caminos, an F-100 and even an FJ Holden ute but I don't think I actually drew one based on a Monaro. A lot of the vehicles in the film are based on the concept art but tweaked to utilise whatever vehicles they had on hand. I'm pretty glad they didn't cut up an old FJ, to be honest.

If anybody here has any further questions for Christian, I am happy to pass them on.
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Re: Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby biolumen » Fri Feb 19, 2016 8:58 am

Wow, great interview that touches on one of the things that has perplexed me about this film. Why the he'll isn't WETA credited for their work on the movie? Well, it seems the WETA people don't even know the answer to that. That must really suck, to not be credited, and not be told why.

This and the Neca Toys tweet from yesterday implying that Miller is the reason behind the lack of Fury Road action figures has me shaking my head.
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Re: Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby Taipan » Fri Feb 19, 2016 12:36 pm

Looks like WETA were chosen by Miller as sort of additional concept art studio from which they cherry picked ideas and that was that. Their stuff seems to be in the movie so I can't understand why they're not credited.

What I'm suspecting about the lack of licensed merchandise and other official content on lock is that Miller is in really deep legal s**t with WB at the moment. This will be resolved eventually after the Oscars depending on the outcome.
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Re: Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby AquaCola » Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:23 pm

Thats a real shame they aren't credited and that none of their art is in the book.
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Re: Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby biolumen » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:56 pm

MadMax @madmaxfansteve
@NECA_TOYS any chance of Road Warrior vehicles in your Cinemachines line? Aliens stuff looks amazing!

NECA ‏@NECA_TOYS
no, George Miller won't allow any licensing from what I've been told, cheers! bottoms up!!

Tom Henry @ShiftyHenry
@NECA_TOYS @madmaxfansteve weren't there some crappy Road Warrior figures back in the day? Maybe that was a traumatic experience for him.

NECA ‏@NECA_TOYS
there was, he wasn't involved in that fiasco

Dylan Daly @DylanDalyRocks
@NECA_TOYS what about the original mad max movies those would make great figures

NECA ‏@NECA_TOYS
same issue as Fury Road - no licensing period
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Re: Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby blackmocco » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:52 pm

Taipan wrote:What I'm suspecting about the lack of licensed merchandise and other official content on lock is that Miller is in really deep legal s**t with WB at the moment.


Any reason for these suspicions? He's made them a movie that made money and is a critical darling. Just curious what your thinking is.

I have a few suspicions myself, pure speculation:

1. WB thought this thing was going to bomb hard and didn't bother negotiating the deals for any merchandise. That may mean now they'd really like to, but Miller may have refused the rights as a fuck-you for not believing in him or...
2. Miller may want a bigger cut of the merchandising $$$ than WB is willing to give or...
3. Miller simply wants to keep this movie as artistically pure as possible, right down to naying any cheapening the product with toys and tie-ins. See Bill Watterson with Calvin and Hobbes. Sometimes artists get protective of how their work is marketed and sold.
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Re: Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby tehCal » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:40 pm

Fury Road definitely made less money than everyone thinks (the budget has been severely under-reported). Taipan can elaborate on that if he wants, but yeah, there's a lot of legal issues between WB and Miller at the moment.
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Re: Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby blackmocco » Tue Feb 23, 2016 6:37 am

Anyone care to elaborate...?
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Re: Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby Taipan » Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:03 am

I've sent you a PM blackmocco
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Re: Brief Fury Road Q&A with Christian Pearce from WETA

Postby Stef-Man » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:42 am

Taipan wrote:I've sent you a PM blackmocco

Why the secrecy here? Everyone wants to know everything on this matter :)
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