Creating a Universe: The Making of Rebel Moon (2024) Movie Script

[dramatic music playing]
Rebel Moon's universe is epic.
It's been a design world, and a place
to tell a story I've been thinking about.
Zack is not world building.
He's universe building.
We've created languages, symbols.
We have wholly original characters.
All kinds of new technology.
The scale and the diversity
of all those creatures.
Zack and I will never have
a green screen that is big enough.
The spaceship is built by a company
that builds race cars.
They actually grew wheat.
We have a huge stunt team.
Zack Snyder loves practical effects.
What I'm really excited about
is this immersion into this world.
Every time we step onto a new set,
it gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
Let's dig in.
This movie, for me,
existed elementally, for 20 years.
I know Zack initially started
kicking around the ideas, themes,
and some characters in the '90s.
We were flying back from Cape Town
to London on a long flight.
And he said, "Wouldn't it be cool
if one day,
we could make a movie in outer space?"
I was a huge fan of science fantasy
when I was growing up.
Mostly, like, hardcore science fiction.
And it's really a David and Goliath,
or good versus evil story.
So, at its core, it's simple,
which I really am a fan of.
Then the complexity
gets to be laid over the top of that.
You can really just go as far as you want,
'cause the mythology is deep.
I think if you know Zack,
you know that one of the things
he's super great at is world building.
So for us to have this opportunity
to create something wholly original,
that has different planets
and different cultures,
a deep history...
It's an endless universe,
and there's so many places to go,
and so many opportunities.
It's really super exciting for us.
[Zack] In pre-production, you have
this feeling like everything's balancing
because nothing's actually
been put to use.
Like, "I can't keep this balanced anymore.
I gotta start knocking things down."
[intriguing music playing]
If you want,
just cause you went right to it,
do you want to talk about
the Gondival shore?
My first conversations with Zack
about the universe were that
it was grounded, it was real.
We wanted to be outside.
We wanted to be on 360 sets
as much as possible.
- [Zack] We can roll. Try it.
- Okay.
[Zack] When I thought how to shoot
this movie and visualizing it,
I really wanted the widescreen look
to suit the big farmland
and the big spaceships.
But I did want really fast lenses,
'cause I do like thin depth of field.
So we ended up having
to build these lenses from scratch.
They're based on
this Leica rangefinding lenses.
And then we found
1960s Japanese anamorphic lenses,
took 'em apart,
and we took the anamorphic glass
and stuck it on the front
of Leica lenses.
And it gives you this immersion
into this massive world.
Zach talked a lot about costumes
not being so sci-fi.
You know, sci-fi, it's so sharp, shiny.
[Zack] This tone is good.
- I wish we could get this into this.
- [Stephanie] We will.
These characters are fractured and broken.
The first time
that Ed put on Noble's costume
gave me chills
and kind of took my breath away.
It was based a lot on First World War
Russian military uniforms.
[Zack] Noble's own staff,
it's a relic
from old Motherworld mythology,
and it's his signature weapon.
He's really gone off the rails
a little bit with his morality.
There's a lot of differences
between the world building
that we're doing here on Rebel Moon
and what I call
"the coffee cup and briefcase shows."
We're creating all kinds
of new technology.
[Sofia Boutella]
I was impressed by the guns
and the designs of them.
They're very unique.
I've never seen anything like it.
So our guns shoot a chunk of lava...
[Kora yelling]
...that if it would hit you, it would
make a hole in you and cauterize.
If it hit a hard surface,
it might splash off.
When we have something that we like,
we print it out in 3D.
We put that together,
and we put it in his hand.
Then we can make
adjustments from there.
[Zack] It's like he was three-quarters,
and then he turned to the camera and...
My job is to execute creatively
what Zack's envisioning
that can't be done practically.
He usually boards out
the sequences beforehand.
And part of my job is to discuss
those storyboards with him,
and figure out
how to execute those technically, on set,
and then through post, as well.
[Zack] Camera tests have gone really well.
Costumes are done.
The makeup is close, and...
So all that stuff is, uh, is on schedule.
So the party starts on Monday,
and I'm feeling really excited
to get to work.
Um, I can't believe we're about
to start shooting next week. It's insane.
I wake up with a big smile
and ready to do the work
because this is the most
exciting opportunity of my life.
Never been a lead in a film.
Zoning into my character
because I have a big day on Monday.
[Zack] Day one, take one.
Day one, Rebel Moon! [laughs]
Walking onto set, I feel like I'm walking
into Zack Snyder's imagination.
I've been on some big movies,
but I've never seen such traffic.
You know...
[imitates traffic sound]
[indistinct chatter]
[dramatic music intensifies]
[folk music playing]
This place is the heart of the movie.
Veldt is why we fight.
[Zack] It's a small farming community
somewhere on the edge
of the known universe.
And a giant warship comes to that planet,
seeking to take their food
to feed their soldiers.
We came to this location, it was basically
a parking lot and these hillsides.
So what we needed to do is
we needed to earth up
and sculpt in our wheat field.
The next thing is that
we needed an environment
that allows us to build this village.
Not something flat,
but something that gives some dimension.
Another element we needed to build
was a river.
It's like filling a swimming pool,
except when we build our pool,
we keep that surface rough
and we put in boulders and stones,
so that when you look down,
it looks like a river.
I was definitely awestruck.
You kind of feel like
you're sort of on some crazy village
in the 1800s in Norway,
or something like that.
[man] All right, here we go!
[Zack] Ready? And, action!
[gun firing]
[Jimmy] I am JC-1435
of the Mechanicas Militarium,
defender of the King.
The Jimmys are a combat model of robot
that has been around
for hundreds of years
and they fought for the King.
When the King is assassinated,
and the royal family are assassinated,
they don't have
the drive to fight anymore.
They call them Jimmys,
but it's slightly derogatory.
They prefer to be called JCs.
It's a Jimmy, man.
My name is Dustin Ceithamer,
and I am playing the body of Jimmy.
That's Jimmy. [chuckles]
Jimmy's a unique character
because many different
artistic teams bring him together.
There's a costume team
that has built a physical costume
and there's CGI effects.
You know, these come out.
[Dustin] Also, they actually
gave me the recordings
of Sir Anthony Hopkins doing the voice.
The way he brings it to life
with this richness is so cool.
...and trusted that she was to usher in
a new age of peace and compassion.
Wheat is this character in our film,
and it was super important
that the wheat be real,
because we wanted to actually harvest it.
If it was fake, we couldn't actually
cut the wheat and bundle it.
It wouldn't have been realistic.
We built giant wheat fields.
We planted the wheat, waited for it grow,
and then harvested it.
And one of the things
that actually drove the schedule
was where the wheat was
at its correct ripeness for harvesting.
We decided to take an organic process
of growing a crop,
and try and insert it
into a very rigid production calendar,
and very quickly learned to sort of let go
of that way of approaching it,
and let the wheat tell us
when it would be ready
- to be shot.
- [thunder rumbling]
Everything about the harvest was real.
It was so interesting to see the acres
that we had at the beginning,
and as time went by,
we'd do a lot of work
and see the shape
of this whole land change.
It was quite a process.
[man] I'd be careful if I were you,
little miss.
[dramatic music playing]
[electronic music playing]
[Justin Raleigh] We typically deal
with any of the creature effects,
anything that's on a person, a puppet,
some type of makeup or aging aspect.
We had about 90-something people
to manufacture all this.
The hardest sequence for us
was the Providence bar sequence.
[electronic music continues]
It was a huge hodgepodge
of a lot of different characters
in a very sweaty, hot place.
[indistinct chatter]
We had dog-face man.
This is full silicone makeup
from mid-chest up.
Parasite, that is a full puppet character
that we built.
Animatronic legs,
animatronic little pincers,
and then we had three or four puppeteers.
And one of my personal favorites
is Dustin in the bartender puppet suit.
We started down this idea of
a bartender that has arms big enough
that it can kind of service everyone
at the bar.
We just completely covered his shoulders,
covered his head with these candles.
[speaking alien language]
Come on, my ship's down at port.
[Zack] Ready, and action!
[thrilling music playing]
[Kurt] In the original draft,
we introduced the Nemesis character,
and then Nemesis has to face off
with this alien.
So it was an alien for a long time.
But no description.
Then Zack was like, "Maybe the alien is
almost like a centaur,
but half spider, half woman."
I'm clearly distressed, that's true.
[Zack] She lives in the mines of Daggus,
and she has lived there
for hundreds of years.
Then the miners all came.
She's kind of mad
about the fact that it's all polluted,
and that's what's led to this conflict.
Nemesis is understanding
of Harmada's feeling.
I know a mother's pain.
But she has kidnapped that child,
and that's too much.
[Justin] For Harmada,
to get as much detail of facial reaction,
it made sense to not do it
as a motion capture thing.
So we had to build
a waist-up creature suit
with full prosthetic makeup.
[Jena] It started at three-and-a-half,
down to two-and-a-half,
and it takes about
47 minutes to get it off.
The first day, I learned that
it wasn't about a comfort level
because you have limited movement.
I have these contacts
that are very hard to put on.
I'm really bad at it.
She's on what we call "the swivel rig,"
that goes up and down,
but it can also spin 180 degrees.
That sequence is probably
the best sequence
to showcase everyone
firing on all cylinders.
Special effects, stunts, visual effects.
Every department on their A game.
[serene music playing]
- [Zack] You can be there--
- [man] On the inside.
[Zack] Right there
[Zack] When you're up,
you'll hold him by...
Yeah. Okay.
...the feathers for a second, then go...
[Marcus] Then it's gonna
go into three-quarter.
- Like that.
- [man] Got it.
[bennu screeching]
Here's the bennu.
It doesn't look like much
when it's out there,
but it's the process to get it there.
But also, for this specific sequence,
we have the ability to create our head.
What's great is we can give it
to our stunt performer, Albert,
so there's a lot of interaction
between them.
That really sells the digital
to practical melding of the world.
But it's all about the performance.
- Okay, like that?
- [Zack] Yeah, like that.
Zack loves to take the time
to allow us to pour ourselves into it.
In my first scene with the bennu,
I get to speak this fictitious language.
I got asked,
"What languages do you speak?"
So I'm Russian-Indian.
My fiance's Portuguese.
I'm learning Portuguese.
So we mixed it, Russian and Portuguese.
We even put our future kids' names
in the language.
[in Samandrait]
You and I...we are alike.
[Zack] When you hear
what he's saying to it,
you understand that he has an empathy
toward those in bondage.
That maybe is part of the reason
he has made these bad decisions.
It's because he puts his desire
to help those first.
[in Samandrait] I'm not going to hurt you.
What I really loved about what
Zack was doing with the story
was make it about people
who are not natural heroes.
It really allows us to dig into this theme
that nobody is defined
by their worst mistakes in the past.
[intense music playing]
[bennu screeching]
[speaking Sharaanese]
King Levitica, he's this king
that kind of takes in the rebellion.
He's very much this selfless individual.
His city and his society
is based on charity.
[in Sharaanese] A decision
when to receive you is imminent.
[Marcus] One of the things
that was important from the get go,
was to make sure we had
the essence in his performance
as much as we could.
The typical film camera doesn't always
pick up every subtlety of the face,
because he's moving, doing stuff.
We want every little bit of it.
So strapping two cameras to his face
all the time, we get everything.
[Tony Amendola]
You know, the question the actor
always has about stuff like this is
"Does it help the character?"
Actors will go through
any amount of discomfort
if it gives you a good character.
[speaking Sharaanese]
[Marcus] What's so special
is that we captured the essence of Tony,
but with added animation
from an amazing team.
I'm so happy the way it turned out.
[dramatic music playing]
[indistinct chatter]
[Zack] So much happens in and around
the dropships of the Imperium,
that we thought
we should build a full one.
You know, just cooler, [laughs] frankly.
Most movies would not build a 50-foot long
spaceship and move it around.
It's built by a company
that builds prototype race cars.
Every piece on this ship
is completely engineered.
The frame is steel.
The loading door is steel
'cause that needs to hold 2,000 pounds
of camera equipment that's rolling up it.
The exterior of the body
is all carbon fiber.
[Bergen] It gets craned off,
put onto flatbed trucks and moved around.
The little boy in me looks at that thing
and jumps up and down quite a bit.
Where that spaceship is,
we had a helicopter
just kind of lowering itself.
You can see how much dust
that helicopter creates
when the wind hits the ground.
Also, it looks better
than the CG dust would have looked.
[dramatic music playing]
Tell me what we're trying to achieve here.
The same thing as the last time we met.
I kill you.
[tense music playing]
The Final Battle is huge.
It's a month long.
Very rarely do we spend a month
on one battle.
When the Final Battle starts,
there's a big explosion,
and Kora and Gunnar are thrown
into the river that flows through Veldt.
We had our doubles do that.
Run to the river, jump on a trampoline,
fall into the river. It looked epic!
And I already knew that Sofia was gonna
say, "Yeah, we could do that, too."
I was like, "We could just come out
of the water? Maybe that's fine too?"
And then Zack, after doing it once
or twice with the doubles, said,
"Easy enough." And I was like,
"Oh. Here we go. Here we go."
So, we did it.
[explosion pulses]
And it was actually so much fun.
I saw it. I stayed in front of it.
Let's leave the dying to our enemies!
Follow me!
[all shouting]
We are taking on the Motherworld.
It is carnage.
Ten to fifteen people kill sprees
we're going on right now.
We did something yesterday actually,
where it was part of a fight sequence.
I run down this trench.
He's running next to me,
and he has the slo-mo camera,
and he's right up here in my face.
I fall down at one point and tripped Zack,
and Zack fell down right next to me.
He's literally right there.
[Milius] Come on.
You can feel the collaboration happen.
[Zack] The mech stops for a beat...
And when it stops, you stop.
You can even have someone go, "Hold!"
And you guys hold. It fires.
Hi. I'm Mike.
I'll be bombing you guys today.
On the call sheet today, we have something
called "the house that goes boom."
Just to my right
is the house that goes boom.
All the effects guys are in there now.
When we do all the pyrotechnics,
it's exciting,
but as a producer,
I'm on the edge of my seat.
But I know I have people
that are looking out for everybody,
and they're doing it in the safest way.
I wonder if we can do...
if we can do that with...
with just traps, you know...
steel traps above ground.
Today, there's 25 special effects guys
that are helping us load this sequence.
Which, once we hit the button, will be
over in about two-and-a-half seconds.
- [Zack] Guys, that's good!
- [Gaspar] Zack loves practical effects.
He likes to be in the middle of it.
We have a little bit of a history.
We're just gonna blow some stuff up
and hopefully that'll look cool.
There it is.
You usually only have one take,
so you have to get it right.
Sometimes the cameras freeze
because of the impact.
There's all these other things that
would not allow you to get the shot.
But if you don't get the shot,
you'd have to rebuild the house,
which you don't have time for.
And I think that energy,
you know, you all feel it.
[Zack] All right, guys. Here we go.
Rolling. Let's go, hard effects!
- [woman] Effects are on.
- [Zack] Three, two, one!
[Deborah] Jesus!
Holy! [laughs]
And then, when it works,
it's like the best feeling in the world.
Hey, good job guys. We got it!
[all yelling]
[Deborah] Then you see it on film...
and you know it'll be there forever.
[Zack] Got it! Everybody okay?
[Zack whoops]
Nice work, everybody!
[dramatic music playing]
The stunt team was incredible.
And I have a deep respect for stunt guys,
because they're the first ones to show up.
They're the last to leave.
On top of being tired,
like everybody else, their bodies hurt.
[Freddy] Trying to get a shot,
and you can't, tuck down...
A lot of time and preparation
goes into it.
We meet with Zack.
He'll say, "I want this to happen here."
We go back into our rehearsal space,
we mock up an environment,
and we shoot a bunch of action.
We edit it together. We add
special effects to help enhance the story.
Sometimes we add sound effects or music.
What's great to me is,
reading it in the script
it's like one or two lines of,
"This is the action that happens."
But when you get into the stunt viz,
it's this massive sequence, right?
[Freddy] That goes out
to all the departments,
so everybody knows what we're doing.
When we show up on the day,
all we have to do is execute that plan
that we've been rehearsing for so long.
[Atticus shouts]
[Zack] Cut it.
[Zack] On Army and on this movie,
I was the director of photography as well.
In a lot of ways, it goes back
to my roots as a commercial director.
I was a director and camera man
for commercials.
I think, for Zack, I can't imagine him
ever going back to just directing,
and not being the cinematographer as well.
It's just in his blood.
He likes being in the middle of it.
He likes the camera.
[Zack] Here we go!
I love shooting, the physical act
of filming and working with actors.
[Zack whooping]
Just trying to get that shot at sunset.
[Zack] Ready and action.
I see what he does with the camera,
the frame, the way he shoots,
and what he has in his head,
being so specific.
I saw how he works, like, all his shots.
The fact that he's able to translate it...
He's a genius.
Hard to get through,
but it's a marathon,
so, you don't run too hard.
But inevitably, you do.
You have to get up every day,
and the process of physically shooting
is exhausting,
but really fun,
and we have a great time doing it.
[Ed] This shoot has been one of
the most demanding shoots I've ever done.
And if Zack calls me, I'm back again.
In a flash.
We're at Blue Cloud Movie Ranch.
It is the final day of shooting.
All right, everybody. Let's gather around.
[crew laughing, exclaim]
It's been wild. It's been ups and downs,
trials, tribulations, hot days, cold days.
I've said it 151 times,
but it hits different tonight.
That's a wrap!
[all cheering]
[Deborah] We tend to work with
the same people, over and over,
'cause there's a level of trust.
And then, we bring new people
along the way,
that are gonna be now,
part of our reoccurring family.
It's really a personal thing
making a movie and
really I just want to thank
you guys from the bottom of my heart.
[Deborah] Now it's our job
to put it all together,
take everybody's hard work
and make it come to life.
[dramatic music playing]
[Zack] If you went to it here...
You could go to it, but as long
as those front guys are through.
This film is something
he's been dreaming about for years.
And I think that shows
in the material that I got.
It's fun now at this point in the journey
to see the movie
come out of the oven slowly,
to have all the pieces
to put together in editorial.
[Zack] And make that one the key.
What's great about Zack is
he lets his partners
in the creative process
work to their best ability,
and he empowers them.
When you're creating amazing things
and having a blast doing it,
that's everything you can ever hope for.
We have over 2,000-some-odd shots
to finish.
I want to just push them
to be the best that they can be.
You have to put yourself
into that very, very vulnerable situation
because you need
to make music with your heart.
If it doesn't give me goosebumps,
if it doesn't make me emotional,
how can I expect that
there's one person in the outside world
who will be emotional?
[sweeping music playing]
[dramatic music playing]
I wanted it to be a special project,
and it could have not
been better than this.
I've always known Zack is creative.
I did not know just how creative,
until I stepped into this project.
All of this is directly
from his heart and his soul.
[Staz] We get to feel how invested he is
through his projects,
and it makes it ten times more alluring.
[Ed] The respect and time
he gives everybody in the crew,
means that everyone wants
to run through brick walls for him.
Everyone's done an amazing job.
It's been an honor to get a chance
to make this movie.
[thrilling music playing]