THE ART OF MORTAL ENGINES
designing a World Was no small feat for the filmmakers
When director Christian Rivers came to Mortal
Engines, there was already a wealth of artwork relating to the future world imagined by author Philip Reeve, including by Reeve himself, who had rendered his universe in very much a Victorian ‘steampunk’ look.
What was added for the live-action film were very practical designs that allowed whole cities to move, or airships to glide by. This work was carried out underneath production designer Dan Hennah. Mortal Engines’ art department included, of course, contributions from the legendary Weta Workshop, who informed set decoration as well as prop builds.
Amongst the designs was that of the airborne city, Airhaven. Here the art department utilised Hololens Holographic, a mixed-reality toolset that helped visualise the complex structures of the city. By wearing the Hololens headset, artists could navigate a 3D model and see it as if it had already been built on the stage. Then they could make the necessary tweaks and changes before actual plans or construction began. Steampunk combined with future technology certainly seemed apt for the world of Mortal Engines.