The Rock’s Red Announcement could be the big hit visual effects movie in 2021

Review for Netflix’s globally famous, star-studded heist drama Red Notice all over the map, but one thing seems to be objectively true: The fact that it exists is a miracle.

“One of the first challenges we faced was when we were shooting, we split our production schedule in half,” said Hiram Garcia, president of production for Seven Bucks Productions and producer of Dwayne. Johnson. Red Notice, told Polygon around the time the movie was released. The plan was for Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot to shoot some interior scenes in the studio space in Atlanta, then start dancing around the world – Italy, Sardinia, France – to stage key sets that would define the setting. screenwriter and director. Rawson Marshall Thurber’s spy-like adventure. But like Red Notice Halfway through the 70-day shoot, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and production shut down.

“We shut down for six months, and then nobody knows if we’ll come back,” Thurber recently said in a chat with Jungle Cruise Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra at the Board of Directors. “And then Netflix, to their credit, was like, ‘No, no, we’ll be back.’ I think we could be like a boogeyman story that studio executives tell directors before they go to bed. ‘Remember the movie they almost made? The same can happen to you. ‘”

New visual effects shot from Industrial Light & Magic shed light on just how much it took to bring Thurber’s film up close to scale, in the original location of the original pre-pandemic plans. Much as David Fincher’s History of Hidden VFX, great number of Red Noticethe natural world of the world constructed or augmented with CGI. Even to the eye of the trained moviegoer, the amount of time the artists have built up the film’s simplest sequences can be overlooked.

“We couldn’t go to Rome, we couldn’t go to Sardinia, we couldn’t go to Paris, but we had all these plans,” Thurber said. “I really don’t want to shoot it in my backyard. I want to go to these places. But we can’t. So we had to shoot everything on stage in Atlanta or in the parking lot of the Atlanta metro studio.”

Red Notice originally opened with a big car chase in Italy, but the action sequence was scaled down post-COVID to a foot chase between Johnson and Reynolds through a museum. The conditions forced Thurber to innovate within those constraints, says Garcia, and the creative team eventually began using drone photography in a narrow range. As Reynolds ran around the obstacle course in the museum and eventually over the scaffolding, the camera would track, and sometimes switch to the POV. “We hired one of the best drone pilots in the world,” Garcia said, “it’s like watching an Indy driver navigate a McLaren on the road – it’s amazing.”

Dwayne Johnson and Gal Gadot's behind-the-scenes red announcement on the sound stage but also on the boat

Photo: Frank Masi / Netflix

While some action scenes were available at the time of the pandemic shutdown, including an explosive prison break, others were cut short. Garcia recalls that filming on the bull scene was the last day they did before the crew went on a hiatus, and it was ultimately shot after the fact with the help of spot plates (not to mention a cow) digital bulls built to take down Johnson).

Visual effects artists also joined in to complement what could have been simpler shots in a pre-pandemic world. According to Thurber, all of the dancers at the masquerade (always written as masquerade) can skate on N95s under their masks. But since they can’t have too many extras in the room at once, the moments with Reynolds, Gadot, and Johnson are filmed in an empty disco, and cascaded into other random background action sequences through visual effects. “They were dancing in an empty room,” Thurber recounted, “like something out of the The Shining. ”

Red Notice did not make the shortlist of the Oscar 2022 for VFX – Black Widow, Dunes, Eternals, Free Guy, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Matrix Resurrections, No Time to Die, Shang-Chi, or Spider-Man: There’s no way home will eventually take home an Academy Award – but in a strange way, the work done on the film by ILM and the other producers involved looks like a testament to what is now possible with visual effects. Photo. Not to mention it’s the best 2021 movie out of all the 2021 movies. Thurber admits he’s not sure about the final budget for the film, but it’s an insanely expensive sum just because of the COVID-19 situation. . The feeling of bubbling with a film crew, and then handing over the film pieces to the visual effects artists, just praying for it all to come together, is a particularly poignant experience. for Garcia and Johnson.

“We worked closely with the CDC and Netflix, and really made sure to deliver everything we needed to get the movie done,” Garcia said. “They are extraordinary partners, they have grown tremendously. They lead with safety and they support that, and make sure we have the financial backing to do what we do. And so it allowed us to finish the film brilliantly, keeping everyone safe. It was not an easy process, but what Dwayne and I have always talked about is: we will never forget this crew.”

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