When it comes to the epic battles, in what ways did you push the envelope or scale back?
You always push it as far as you can until people start screaming you are out of money. You do as much as you can with the resources you have. You always push it right up to the edge. You squeeze every last dime out of the budget you can to put it up on the screen. We were very fortunate to have Peter Chiang, my visual-effects supervisor, and the company Double Negative spearhead the lion’s share of the effects. It’s always a nail-biter. You never have enough time.
As you can tell from the trailers, another thing I didn’t want to do was repeat Guillermo’s phenomenal visuals of shooting these fights in the rain at night. So, we did most of our action sequences during the day, which is technically a hell of a lot more difficult on the visual-effects department, when you can’t hide anything and it’s all broad daylight. Again, I didn’t want to try and imitate Guillermo and I wanted to offer the audience something a little visually different than the first one.
Obviously, you’ve done a lot of world building on this movie. Where do you see the next installment going?
When we were developing Uprising, I was constantly jotting down notes of possible scenarios for the next movie, just to make sure we were laying in the building blocks. There’s an obvious nod at the end of the movie to a possible sequel. I just wanted to make sure we didn’t paint ourselves into a corner, that we had some idea where we were going. It’s a pretty cool idea. If the audience shows up for this one and we get a third bite at the apple, it’s cool. My plan was always to try and expand the universe by the end of the third movie, so the franchise could support going off in many different directions.
This is your movie directorial debut, but you’ve worked on such TV series as Smallville and Daredevil. Which superhero franchise would you like to get your hands on in the future?
I grew up reading comics constantly, mostly Marvel and DC. It’s like asking what kind of ice cream you want to eat. I love them all. Obviously, there’s the big ones. Superman. Batman. Pick any Marvel character. But, for me, if I was going down the path of a big movie or quasi-big movie, I love what James Gunn did. A lot of people didn’t know Guardians of the Galaxy. I knew it from the comics. I remember when it was first announced, I thought, “Well, that’s insane. I don’t know how they are going to translate Guardians of the Galaxy to the big screen.” James Gunn did such a magnificent job.
So, I looked at Doom Patrol at DC, something like that, which you can sink your teeth into and make it a little quirky. Don’t get me wrong. If somebody popped up and said, “Hey, what about Superman or Spider-Man?,” of course, I’d say yes. I’d be stupid not to. But, I’d love to get my hands on something like a Doom Patrol, something a little bit lesser known. Doing a Doom Patrol movie set in the ‘60s, that would be heaven.
Directed by Steven S. DeKnight, Pacific Rim Uprising is headlined by franchise newcomers John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, Adria Arjona and Zhang Jin, with returning stars Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Burn Gorma. The film is now in theaters nationwide.