From The Hollywood Reporter:
“The future of filmmaking is unfolding in a drab office park near a Whole Foods in Playa Vista. It’s where Jon Favreau assembled this summer’s $1.5 billion-grossing The Lion King using a gaming engine and a warehouse of cutting-edge artists and technicians, and it’s where the actor-writer-director-producer is sketching out season two of The Mandalorian, a Star Wars TV series set to debut Nov. 12 on the new Disney+ streaming service (and to be teased with a trailer at the D23 conference Aug. 23). Favreau, 52, invited Hollywood Reporter editorial director Matthew Belloni to a conference room lined with pictures of Tatooine’s finest to talk about his crazy summer (in addition to Lion King, he co-starred in the $1 billion-grossing Spider-Man: Far From Home and dropped The Chef Show on Netflix) and to unveil his new endeavor, Golem Creations, named for the man-made creature from folklore that represents an artistic creation brought to life by magic. […]
Let’s start with is the focus of the new venture. What’s Golem Creations?
Favreau: My fascination is with where technology and storytelling overlap. Méliès, the Lumière brothers, Walt Disney, Jim Cameron. It comes from the tradition of stage magic. When you have a tech breakthrough like Star Wars, like Avatar, like Jurassic Park, people’s minds go into a fugue state where they just accept this illusion as reality. What’s also enjoyable about it for me is that you’re not being tricked by it, you’re complicit in that you are agreeing to suspend your disbelief if the spectacle is sufficiently enjoyable. That’s why Star Wars is so enduring and why we’re surrounded [here] by artwork for Star Wars, why that’s a world I want to play in because it’s tech and myth coming together in a perfect way.
So what are your next steps?
A lot of it is focusing on the opportunities that new production technologies have to offer, and then also what technology offers in the form of platforms, distribution. It could be anything from The Mandalorian, where we’re using game engine technology, virtual camera work and virtual production that we developed on Lion King, applying those learnings to designing a project where you could use virtual sets and virtual set extensions using real-time rendering, which is something that people talk about but we’re the first people to actually apply it to a production. Getting that thing on its feet, from an idea through the screaming toddler phase into a place where you can actually have a responsible production that delivers quality is a very interesting part of the learning curve, so that’s something that I’m fascinated with.
There will be people who hear “digital production” on The Mandalorian and think “Great, we saw digital production on the Star Wars prequels and it didn’t look very good.” How is this different?
Well, I would argue that the prequels are — and [George] Lucas in general is — the bedrock that all of this is built on. He is the first person that had digital photography, he was the first person to do completely CG characters. The whole notion of not having even a print [version of the film], of having everything be 0’s and 1’s, was all George. Not to mention EditDroid, which turned into Avid, Pixar was spawned out of their laboratories at LucasFilm, so he is arguably the center of the Big Bang for everything that I’m doing. It’s building on the shoulders of what he was able to innovate.
So the answer is this is 20 years later than the prequels?
This is 20 years later, and also there’s been a democratization of the skill set too. It’s no longer a few vendors innovating in ivory towers, that information has been expanded and disseminated and democratized so that effects that would cost you millions of dollars, you can do it on a PC now, with consumer-facing filmmaking tools. When George came to our set and visited The Mandalorian, he said, “Oh, we did this,” and what he meant was, “We had green screen and we were building small sets and expanding upon it.” Now, we have video walls, NVIDIA video cards that allow a refresh rate that allows you to do in-camera effects, we’re in there taking advantage of the cutting-edge stuff.” […]”