It is always a wonderful challenge for us to explore trying to create something beautiful, striking and exciting in a fantasy realm while feeling inspired and grounded within the realms of a historic period. The team relished the opportunity for The Great Wall and, I think, excelled in achieving this balance for the designs within this dynasty in Chinese history.
You have to think about it in three dimensions and how it would move and what it would sound like. Just how detailed we had to get with our approach was a challenge, but also really rewarding.
Our first task was to dissect The Great Wall script and work in with the film’s Prop Master to determine the types of weapons needed, and how we would build them for the action scripted. Would they be used in stunt work? Which props would be filmed up close? We quickly realised that this film called for just about every type of screen weapon imaginable.
A sci-fi fantasy monster-adventure action epic set in historical China: an extraordinary premise for a movie and a fantastic opportunity for Weta Workshop! That a sizeable part of the biggest Chinese film ever made has been produced in a small suburb of Wellington, New Zealand, is a terrific thing for us all to celebrate. Our manufacturing and design teams have really outdone themselves with what they have been able to achieve for this film.
As large as its part in the project was, the 65,000 man hours that Weta Workshop spent on the film was a mere fraction of the effort involved in bringing this epic cross-cultural co-production to the screen. The armies of The Great Wall, armed with Weta Workshop’s arsenal, will battle a terrifying evil on international screens in February 2017.
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