I'm in Barcelona at the tech/art/culture confab Artfutura, listening to the two effects masterminds behind the Matrix trilogy: John Gaeta (right-hand side of the photo below) and Greg Juby of effects house ESC (Greg's at left in this photo).
ESC is the company created by the Wachowski brothers and John Gaeta to produce the complex work of visual effects in the Matrix series. Gaeta may well be the single most influential person in the last decade of visual effects, and right now he's talking to the audience of Spanish digital artists and tech developers here about the creative process behind the films, and what to expect in the forthcoming Matrix: Revolutions:
* "What will be different in Revolutions? It's the final, ultimate manifestation of Larry and Andy Wachowski's anime dream: to make am movie as close to an anime as possible. Take the best and coolest aspects of anime — large scale robotics, entanglements between man anad machine — and tranform it into a feature, live action film. You'll also see lots more bullets."
* "Subconsciousness needs to be redefined with every generation. Matrix is a stylized sci-fi story, but the root of the idea that you can have imagery placed into your mind is a very possible scenario, and I think that's a universe that our generation was finally ready to start dealing with. I grew up on Kubrick, Ridley Scott, Hitchcock, Orson Welles, and many other filmmakers that triggered ideas inside my mind — that's how evolution works. One generation speaking to another. Larry and Andy [Wachowski] are preoccupied with those ideas, too, but they're also pop culture junkies and they share an obsession we also have with darker sci-fi threads in films you see in films like Bladerunner. It's no accident that some of the scenes in the Matrix trilogy are reminiscent of Bladerunner, because we've been dying all our lives to do that kind of work. "
* "I want to make an electrochemical movie.
In the year 2099 I'll be 130 years old, but I think around 2063 I'm going to have my brain taken out and have it inserted into a clone who's about 21 years old. Maybe some bionic augmentation upgrades, too. In about 40 years, I'm thinking some sort of military-industrial-supercomplex-international-intelligensia supergroup will figure out how to export imagery to people's brains. If you can see it in your head while you're dreaming — well, that image is created somehow. Someday, someone will figure out how to place that image into your brain. It'll be some combination of electricity and drugs, and they'll call it Rosebud.
A billion people will attend the first electrochemical movie premiere. Everyone in the audience will experience love again for the first time, and we'll become gazillionaires. I don't know how we'll make our electrochemical movie into a DVD, though. And distribution is definitely going to be a problem."
* "The most difficult thing about creating effects for the trilogy? Designing choreography that could never be actualized by human beings."