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effects, to levels we hadn’t used before. We wanted to do our best in a way that was as seamless as possible. That took quite a bit of training, research, choreography. To be able to really get a practical base in a lot of the stunt work, the visual effects work. We had to work out Channing’s character, Caine. We knew we wanted him to be able to propel himself through the air. But we wanted to do it in a way that hadn’t been seen before. Then we came up with this anti- gravity boots concept. Once we’d done that, we said, ‘ Fine, we have a concept. How does the body move?’ Because we wanted to be able to capture a lot of that, and then build the visual effects around it.
“We created this huge half- pipe over in Berlin, and we had some of the best skaters in the world. We had rollerbladers, we had surfers, whatever. Just studying motion. Then we created practical machines, most notably two huge revolving treadmills that were 15 feet in the air, with which you could actually move in three dimensions. We got to a point where that worked, then we had to get Channing trained up, get his bodywork working, get his double’s. Because in the movie you see Channing flying through the buildings of Chicago. We didn’t have Channing hanging up there, but a lot of that was based on a stunt double doing all of that stuff. There was a way to do it with digital people, and that’s been done very well before. But by having Channing doing a lot of his own work, and having his double doing the more difficult stuff, and then just layering it together with visual effects, it gave us an old school physicality to the work.”
Hill says it’s the scene in most likely to blow audiences away – an adrenalised six and a half minute action sequence that occurs shortly after Caine and Jupiter meet.
“Our big chase through Chicago,” Hill says proudly, “is just stunning to look at. This is where we find that Channing is able to move himself around through space. It was challenging in a number of areas. In the visual effects world, we were gonna have twenty- five hundred visual effects shots, but we wanted to use more physical things for the visual effects to build on. Since they were both going to be flying through the canyons of the city, we wanted to make that practical. So we commissioned a new multi- camera rig. Then we put that in a helicopter and trained a stunt man to actually
Jupiter Ascending Hill tells SFX the Wachowskis’ lifelong love of SF and fantasy cinema fed into the universe of Jupiter Ascending.
“They obviously have a great interest in, and grew up watching, a lot of stuff. There are a lot of space- based films. There are a lot of elements that come into the whole sci- fi thing, and they’ve seen it all, know it all, and are very conscious of what came before them. But they also wanted to try and reenvision a lot of those things, as well as bring in things that had made some impression and were formative to them when they were younger. They drew on pictures like The Wizard Of Oz, which, when they first saw them, were so fantastical and so out there and so charming. There are definitely elements of that in it.”
Toothbrush, sir? The Wachowskis haven’t lost their taste for world building.