Gareth Edwards' Road Trip After Making 'Rogue One' Inspired 'The Creator'

Interview: Gareth Edwards on set of The Creator

After a troubled production with ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016), director Gareth Edwards decided to take a break from filmmaking and take a road trip. Even though he vowed to not work, he conceived the entire story behind THE CREATOR by the time he arrived at his vacation destination.

In a post-apocalyptic world, humans are at war with robots with artifice intelligence in THE CREATOR. Joshua (John David Washington), a special forces agent, is tasked with finding the Creator of an advanced AI who can destroy humans.

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Director Gareth Edwards had just come off the reported turmoil of directing STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE. The filmmaker reveals he wanted a break from filmmaking to reset his mind.

"I needed a bit of a break, and we decided, with my girlfriend, that we're gonna go and see her parents who live in Iowa, which [is like?] the other side of America," Edwards revealed at the movie's press conference. "And we're like, okay, we'll do, like, a four-day road trip. And the great thing about having finished a movie is your brain sort of like deletes, like, formats the hard drive.

John David Washington on The Creator set

THE MONSTERS (2010) and GODZILLA (2014) filmmaker couldn't get away from his sci-fi roots and his imagination ran wild with an idea after seeing something during his road trip. While taking in the sights, Edwards drove by a Japanese factory nestled among an open field with tall grass.

"And I thought, just 'cause the way I'm wired, like in science fiction, I was like, I wonder what they're doing in there?" he recounted. "Like, oh, maybe it's robots or something cool. I'm like, I doubt it. But and then I was thinking, oh, imagine being a robot built in a factory and you step outside the factory for the first time."

The 48-year-old hashed out all the story details on the drive to Ohio.

"You know, and I started building on the idea. And by the time we got to my girlfriend's parents' house, I kinda had the basics of the whole movie mapped out, which is really rare."

Most of his ideas are "painfully" conceived over a year-long process, he revealed, so he knew right away, THE CREATOR had to be his next project. So much for his filmmaking sabbatical!

Ironically the production was a road trip. Edwards took the show on the road, shooting in eight dozen countries rather than green screening the action.

"When you make a film like this, what happens is you design the world," he revealed. "You do all these cool pieces of artwork. You show a studio. They say, 'You'll never find anywhere that looks like this. You're gonna have to build it in a soundstage. It's gonna cost $2 hundred million, and you'll shoot it against the green screen.' And we were like, 'No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Like, forget the literal images. This is just the idea. We'll design it based on whatever we actually film. So, we'll do all the design, like, when we finish the movie. Like, we'd sort of make the movie in reverse."

The Creator movie set

Edwards adds that traveling with a small crew and cast was far cheaper than building out elaborate sets. He says they "cherry-picked" the locations such as the volcanoes of Indonesia, the Buddhist temples in the Himalayas and the ruins of Cambodia and floating villages.

The traveling production paid off with great settings in THE CREATOR which should be experienced on the big screen when it opens Friday, September 29.

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