It’s about ten thirty on a Wednesday morning and Stephane Ceretti is running through the interview gauntlet as he goes from one call to another in promotion of the dvd release for Ant-Man and the Wasp.
It’s been about three years since we last saw Scott Lang don the Ant-Man suit and he’s being thrust into a whole new world, literally. Where we had seen a glimpse of the quantum realm in Ant-Man, the sequel takes it to a hole other level.
We had the opportunity to speak with VFX Supervisor, Stephane Ceretti and get an inside perspective on the making of such a visually complex film.
One of the main concepts that draws our attention for Ant-Man and the Wasp is the continuous transition from macro to micro as the heroes shrink and enlarge to sizes of uncommon proportions. One would think that with a push of a few buttons on the computer, CGI would be a breeze and the production process would be complete. This is not the case, which is why Marvel had the genius kind of Stephan Ceretti take on this seemingly daunting task.
Being as he was not part of the first film, we asked Stephen what it was like stepping into this world to continue the storyline with established the characters of Scott Lang and Hank Pym whole introducing new characters into the mix. “This was my first time working on a sequel. I had never done that before but I was able to speak with the visual effects team that worked on the first film. We discussed the characters and the themes. It was fun to step into this world that I hadn’t worked on before. Ant-Man and the Wasp is a more comedic film so the design and landscape where completely different. Working on a world that’s focused on macro and micro was a new challenge that I had fun diving into.”
This macro to micro continuous shift is spending throughput see through the film so I was curious to know what some of the more complicated effects for the film where. Surprisingly, it was one thing that, to the untrained eye might seem like a simple use of green screen but Stephane clarifies that it isn’t so. “Some of the most complicated sequences to work on involved the chance sequence through San Francisco. When director Payton Reed told me he wanted them to be in San Francisco I was really excited because that gave us a lot of different things to work with.”
But, they didn’t necessarily film in the streets of San Francisco. “We did a lot of the shooting in Atlanta and later on when back and replaced the background landscape to look like the streets of San Francisco. Clear Angle, our LiDAR and scanning company, worked with DNEG for two or three weeks photographing and scanning big sections of streets in San Francisco. Something that we didn’t have in Atlanta were hills. Specific beats that were prevised had to be shot in San Francisco, because we needed all of these hills and particular locations. In-between that the Atlanta footage was inserted and modified in the background.” Part of this sequence also involved Paul Rudd using a truck as a skateboard, which added to the action and comedic aspect of the film. Ceretti adds, “We had to make sure that all of the car composites looked completely real. Also, we wanted to find ideas as to how to play with the scale to make it enjoyable for the audience. It was a lot of prep work.”
“The same can be said for the fight sequences and what’s really great about this film is that we see the Wasp be a better hero than Ant-Man. She’s more prepared and has more experience fighting so we got to do a lot mote of that visual work for her.” One example of such sequences is Hope’s introduction as she fights the bad guys in the hotel and through the kitchen. Shrinking and enlarging as she bobs and weaves away from her opponents without missing a beat.
Keeping this in mind, I asked Stephane if there was a specific scene that took longer and was more difficult to develop than others. Creating the San Francisco sequence took some time to develop. This took a lot of work because we had a lot of areas to cover. From the houses, to the streets and leading to the bay where we see a macro Ant-Man chasing after the bad guy on a ferry. It took a lot of planning prior to production so we would have most of the films sequences done before filming even began.”
Before wrapping up our call I inquired about any upcoming projects he may be working on with Marvel and managed to get a bit of scoop regarding the MCU. “I will be working on an upcoming film for Marvel in a couple of months. It hasn’t been officially announced but there is word out there of what may be coming next. It contains brand new characters so I’m excited to join that project. It gives me a new playing field. I get to start from zero and create a whole new world and landscape since nothing for that word has been explored before. It’s always exciting when you get to create something new. It’s similar as to when I worked on Doctor Strange, we hadn’t seen anything like the realms designed in the movie, so I’m really looking forward to bringing something new.”
Looking at his catalogue of work, which includes films such as Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Gallery and The Matrix, there is no doubt that whatever comes next will be mind-boggling and astounding.
Ant-Man and the Wasp is now available on ultra 4K, HD, DVD and Blu-ray.