Duncan: There is a constantly moving frontier on that technology, as well. You see it from the Planet of the Apes movies and Avatar — earlier on, and what they did with Mark Ruffalo, as the Hulk, in the The Avengers movie. We are working with the same team that did the Hulk. And we’re benefitting from the fact that we’re working with people — Alex Gartner and Chuck Roven (Charles Roven) who worked on The Dark Knight movies, was producing those, Legendary and that team — who have actually given us the support to make the film the way we think it needs to be made.
Westenhofer: And in the environments as well, where what you are going to see — the concept art. You will recognize it as the environment, but it will look completely real. If we’re doing the Elwynn Forest, there is the trees, perhaps the size of the trees, the distribution are something you might not see in this world. But the fine detail is something that you know, looks completely photographic. It’s that kinda thing. That’s how we are trying to push a realistic amazing vision of what you have seen in the game and what you are familiar with.
Carpenter: Keeping the spirit, when you guys can go through this experience you will feel like you’re living in these walls. The trees, they talk about the bark. We look at any in-game screenshot and think how do we translate that into a physical prop? And down to the roots and leaves, we talk about some of these spaces and these guys are super.
Westenhofer: And we are — there have been times where as a technical consultant — I have had to login into my character and fly over Dalaran to get a screenshot. It is good to be in a mage. You can portal around.
Carpenter: The other thing, he’s such a fan like every day when we’re working things out — he’d be like: “You know what would be really cool? This little easter egg right here” — I’m like — “I don’t know if we can do this.” He would be like: “I got this. I got this.” And when we are chasing these little things, they are putting so much cool little detail –
Westenhofer: They are close to attention to everything.
Duncan: That has always been one of the ambitions, is to strike it on a level where people who can enjoy the film but don’t know everything about the world, but at the same time have enough things in there in the subtext, and in the environment. Even some of the story lines where you actually you know more than some of the audience will know. So you will get even more out of it than most everyone else.
Pardo: So I think one of the challenging things with taking franchises like this into a movie is how you partner with a franchise holder, in our case obviously us, and I think that what Legendary has done a great job is that they always have kept us very collaborative. I thought it might be good to hear from you guys, working with Blizzard, what the collaboration has been, and how involved we have been.
Duncan: To go back a little bit to what Chris was saying, when we first started talking, and I gave you my pitch, the relief that that was what you hoped it would go to anyway was really what made it feel like — ohh okay, this is home, this is going to work out alright. I am not going to be fighting my way through this. We were all already seeing it in the same direction.
Metzen: Yes, it was definitely a love connection. Like immediately. It was good. It was a happy day. A happy day.
Pardo: And I think kind of the same thing happened on the Art side, right Bill?
Westenhofer: When we talked about designing characters to have support from the designers who have that in their DNA and know it is a secondhand — just get that essence of Warcraft automatically in the first place.
Carpenter: I mean, It goes both ways. When we work with Dev teams internally, eveybody gets the Blizzard style, we all have this specific idea of what we are going to create. These guys are exactly the same. They plugged right in. Day one. We have been running ever since.
Westenhofer: It is good to have that mindset. We like to work out things. Like Duncan said, we have live action, we have people, and we have live action concerns where the Warcraft style, if you’re going to try to reach over your head to grab something, you have this pauldrons knocking the side of your head. Those are the things that we need to work out.
Carpenter: I was like “Make the shoulderpad bigger. A bit bigger. No, a bit bigger.” And Bill was like “It’s not going to work, Nick.” And I was like: “Not my problem.”
Pardo: So what do you think was going to be the most challenging part of this trying to put this whole thing together?
Duncan: Well, I mean, we are at the exciting time when we can really see the shooting date coming up on us now. So it is really about just integrating all of these amazing people who are working together and making sure that we all kind of hit the mark at the same time. And we are all going to speed. A couple of people I also need to mention, Simon Dugan who is a cinematographer who did “I, Robot“. And also you may know him from The Great Gatsby, as well, and those are both films that we have so many technical layers to the filmmaking. To me, it is just really important to surround myself with people who understood the intricacy of integrating all of those different layers, and making sure that everything Bill is got to do, everyone else got to do with all the different departments. It is an epic quest to get this film right.
Westenhofer: Very challenging on the technical side, you know. When we’re done, we leave the stage, but often all you are going to see is a piece of sets with a bunch of blue screens, a couple of human sword, guys with pajamas and little lights on them. That has to be translated. In order to do that right we have to plan very well to make sure the finished project is going to look perfect.
Pardo: For you, Duncan, this is probably the biggest film you have ever made. With MOON being kind of small, and SOURCE CODE, what is it like on this scale?
Duncan: It is interesting, because you always have the same puzzle to solve. You know, it doesn’t matter how big the film gets, it always ends up being how do I fit this grand ambition into this shape? What makes it easier or harder is the people you work with. And again, we have been incredibly fortunate, and I think you know, smart in the people that we surrounded ourselves with. And also being able to work so closely with you guys. Because I think you know working in parallel like this, it keeps us honest to what it is we’re trying to make and making sure that we’re always going to try to go for broke. And make sure we make this film that reflects that world. We can’t detour too far. Because then we’re not addressing what the goal of the film is. Is great, in a way, we make sure we’re making the film you guys want.
Pardo: So I think we’ve asked most of the questions that we have had up here for the panel. And we’ll let you guys answer a few questions of the audience. I kind of need you guy’s help a little bit because I’ve been kind of arguing them backstage, trying to get them to talk a little more about what is coming out in the film. You guys want to hear more actual details about what is going to be in the movie?
Duncan: So it is two years away.
Pardo: Yeah, I know, but you are up on Twitter all the time. I figure you have to be able to reveal some stuff. You did something special for Comic Con, and I think BlizzCon is more important than Comic Con; because I just feel like this is where it all came from. Comic Con is just a bunch of posers compared to BlizzCon. So I really need you guys’s help. I need you guys to really talk Duncan into this. And then when all the Legendary PR people rush the stage, I need you to tackle them.
Duncan: There are producers — I mean, it is not —
(Duncan looks into his iPhone)
Pardo: Do it!
Duncan: I could get fired. I just need to make sure — I don’t get fired.
Pardo: Okay, fired.
Metzen: Don’t get fired.
Crowd: We’re all family, we don’t care.
Duncan: No one has run on stage yet. Can we just mention — are they in the front there? (referring to producers or Legendary Public Relations). Ok, well, can we just mention a couple of character names? All right, so obviously, we sort of talked our way around it, trying to not mention any names. But it is — the story that was most important to tell was an origin story of that first contact. So for us, for me, and I think you guys agree was the story to tell is between Lothar and Durotan. I would imagine most of you know your lore and can kinda know where this is going. I think if we just stick with that — connecting those two dots — I would say again, talking about the amazing input working with Blizzard, some of the stuff that weighed for Durotan — some of the artwork — was just mind-blowingly good and it’s been hard to find an actor that looks like Durotan. Every time I see an actor I just kind of grab their face and kinda squish it around with (signals molding with his hands).
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