Wells descriptions are very specific. Did you follow them?
Doug Chiang As much as we could, yeah. We wanted to be faithful to it. I think its best to go to the source material versus other interpretations, as great as the other interpretations may have been. Its always nice to see where the inspiration came from. And then Steven, of course, takes it to a whole new level.
We do try to make it look feasible. Thats part of our job, is to make it so that these things, whatever they look like, have a logic behind it. I mean, theres a reason for why they move the way they do and stuff, or look the way they do. We do try and figure that in. Whether or not anybody sees it ultimately, at the end, is kind of not the point. But for us as designers for it, we really try and make it make sense.
Are you keeping the red weeds from the book?
Rick Carter - Yes.
Will they be CG?
Rick Carter Well, youll see a lot of blood on the set, on the real set, and half its mine. Theres a perfect example of where in CG you can or Doug can make an image that in reality trying to make it come alive is very difficult. Thats not to say it would be better in CG because it might not have the actual tactile sensibility of being in our world. So to actually have the red weed be in our world, and not this kind of cheesy science fiction thing that throws you out of the movie, has been really difficult. But I think were pulling it off. So I would just say, yes, the red weed is there and its a part of how they - in their culture - are using our planet. Whether you specifically know exactly why they did it, thats a whole other thing.
Now the one other level I would bring up is just that Im going to be very unspecific about this but I do want to say it because I think it informed the moviemaking and the design, especially the moviemaking you will see that the heroes of this piece are the heroes of this piece, meaning that its in the book. Again, if theres a parallel world to ours, its right here on our planet. Those levels are the heroes. You can go to the book and you know what it is and you saw it in the movie, so Im not really revealing anything. Im just saying, tracking that level as actually a part of the movie thats reflecting us, whether its literal or not, I think that its just important to know that we took seriously some of these things that H.G. Wells [wrote].
What kind of approach did you use to create the alien perspective of Earth?
Doug Chiang Its two-fold. One is the psychology of it so that its, What would they want from us? That goes from, Okay, theyd want our water, to Do they want something more from us? Im just saying that the fear is wide-spread so that the way that it impacts people is so great that it reflects back on what you perceive to be their point of view. But that point of view is never fully open to us, because were not them. Yet theyre here and so theres pervasiveness to it. Thats the part that I think may be why this would be more akin to Orson Welles version than to George Pals. Because whatever that reflected in the 30s about that paranoia, which would allow people to get freaked out that this is really happening, thats the visceral kind of everyday quality that I think this wants to have.
Did you dehumanize the aliens and make them incredibly different than people?
Doug Chiang - They have to be a symbol of fear so I mean we dont try to make them likeable in any way. This is a very vicious race and we dont quite know why theyre doing this. All we see is the end result of what theyre doing. In some ways the film portrays them perhaps very one-sided because we dont know what their true motives are. But theyre killing people so
Rick Carter There is another level that I dont know if this will even come across in the film. Since you go so, even in the book, down to that micro level there, Ive said it and you go all the way up to this broader perspective that looks at us which is a microbe. Thats that maybe its the powers of 10 but thats not literal in the movie. Its just that theres an aspect of where we are in the range. Once you start doing that, youve lost your moorings a little bit in terms of what your reality is other than the one you know when you go in the theater. Conceptually, youre in a range, a free-fall.You can go either direction. Where Im going with this is that from that perspective, its all a civil war. Its an intergalactic civil war. How far back do you want to go? Right here, you wont be living that in the movie you care about us. And were with us. I think that thats the part that is really fascinating. You can actually tap into a level that is a little bit transcendent, terrifying, but actually goes somewhere so that that sense of all in it together is something not in the way that Ive thought about it, to be honest.