Warcraft director Duncan Jones and actor Robert Kazinsky who portrays Orgrim Doomhammer in the film appeared at gaming convention PAX East today in Boston for a panel entitled “Warcraft: A look inside the upcoming cinematic adventure.”
The panel was broadcast live on Twitch and offered new insights into the upcoming fantasy film, due to hit theaters internationally next month.
The panel included an extensive Q&A portion in which Jones was able to allay fan fears that the film would look “too fake” as well as what it was like working with actors such as Travis Fimmel who didn’t know anything about the game. Despite most of the discourse being dominated by the game itself, (not unexpected, it was a gaming convention after all) Jones did reiterate that he hoped the film would also appeal to non-players of Blizzard’s phenomenally popular World of Warcraft.
“We wanted to make a movie where fans of Warcraft could feel like they’ve gone home,” Jones said, however adding that: “as a movie, it’s going to be a universe that everyone wants to be in.”
No one has been quite as enthusiastic about promoting Warcraft than Robert Kazinsky, who also gave the audience his best “For the Horde” battle cry during the panel. “There’s not been an actor in the history of film that’s ever been so ready to play a character as I have,” he said. Within regards to portraying emotion in a film using motion capture, Kazinsky said it was not difficult: “Every single thought that I wanted to think comes through on Orgrim’s face.”
Jones said motion capture was the only way to achieve the emotions he needed the orcs to project in order for the audience to connect with them, saying prosthetics would have never worked. Because motion capture was used for so many characters, Jones decided that “real” sets had to be built.
“If we did a CG environment and CG characters, then you’re in the realm of Final Fantasy or something like that, and we didn’t want to do that. So big set builds became part of the production,” Jones said.
One fan wanted to know if those involved in the film not knowledgeable about Warcraft caused challenges, Jones saying that when it came to Travis Fimmel (who has never played the game), describing it to him was pointless.
“I don’t think there’s much point me explaining my experiences at various levels of the game to Travis Fimmel, I don’t think that’s really what he cares about. I think he’d rather understand the character from a more objective character side of things. But he’s a lot of fun, although he may not have wanted to look too much into what Warcraft was before he played the part, we cast him because we kinda knew he was Lothar.”
When asked to explain how Jones ended up with the job of directing Warcraft, he said it was because he had been tracking the process of the film as a fan. After he learned Sam Raimi was no longer directing the movie, he asked to read the script.
While his initial reaction was that the script was good, there was something inherently wrong with it Jones thought, and that was: “It was human heroes against orc villains. And to me that was a fundamental misstep.”
Jones then worked on a pitch for the film as he envisioned it, which he took to Blizzard. “When I went in and made my pitch everyone was so relieved that we were all on the same page,” he said.
Jones also wanted to tell the audience that there would be parts of the movie where “our film veers off from lore, in subtle small ways.” But he said it was necessary, and everyone involved in the production of the film including Legendary and Blizzard agreed that it would “make for a better movie.”
After the panel Jones and Kazinsky participated in a live chat for Warcraft’s Facebook page where Jones revealed that Orgrim will have “one of the more interesting and developed arcs over the course of the story” in the film. Jones was also excited to see the latest Warcraft character poster to be revealed featuring Draka, describing the character artwork posters by Legendary and Universal as “fantastic.”
Jones said that Draka, who is portrayed by Australian actress Anna Galvin, is an important character in the film, as well as one of his personal favourites.
Meanwhile, a new, exclusive behind-the-scenes video was also released today, offering a tour around the set of The Lion’s Pride Inn by Kazinsky. In it we see lots of the main characters that will form the Alliance, including Australia’s Travis Fimmel (Anduin Lothar).
“Everything is pretty much identical to the game,” Kazinsky says in the video, which you can view here.
You can watch the Warcraft movie panel from PAX here. Warcraft: The Beginning opens in Australia on June 16.