It's a tricky time to be Gareth Edwards. On the one hand, the director is about to have the biggest day of his life when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives in theaters and dominates the world. But on the other, there's the unfortunate fact that he was essentially replaced by Tony Gilroy after the film entered post-production. We won't pretend to know exactly what went on between Edwards and Lucasfilm once they saw where he was going with the movie, but it's pretty obvious that the studio was worried enough that they tapped Tony Gilroy to not only rewrite the script, but to also direct the huge portion of the film that was re-shot.
They took Rogue One out of the Godzilla director's hands.
That's not a very pretty situation, and it's kind of the elephant in the room as Edwards goes on a press tour promoting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The director has been somewhat tight-lipped on the matter, but during a recent chat with The L.A. Times, the director took the time to give his side of the story.
A notable part of his account of what went down was that he chalks it up a stylistic choice he made. Edwards says he shot the film in a way that ended up necessitating an all-hands-on-deck approach to creating a cohesive narrative.
Here's how he explains the Rogue One reshoots:
"I’d say a third of the movie or more has this embedded documentary style to it, and as a result, we shot hours and hours and days and days of material. Normally, when you put a film together it goes together like A-B-C-D-E and you move on. Whereas we had so many permutations, so many different ways it could be constructed, it took longer in the edit to find the exact version.
"We’d always planned to do a pickup shoot, but we needed a lot of time to figure out all this material and get the best out of it. So that pushed the entire schedule in a big way. Then Disney saw the film and reacted really well and they said, ‘Whatever you need, we’re going to support you.’ Our visual-effects shot count went from 600 to nearly 1,700, so suddenly we could do absolutely anything we wanted. To design 1,000 visual effects shots should take a year, so it was all hands to the pump and we never came up for air really until about a week ago.
"Things kept improving constantly and the film was getting better and better – and if you’re improving it, you don’t stop. I think any other movie you would say, ‘That’ll do. We’re going to get a hit.’ But ‘Star Wars’ is going to live forever if you do it properly. We just can’t let it go. You’ve got keep going until they [snatch] it out of your hands."
Edwards is a very talented young director, and this experience was probably a huge learning experience for him. You've also got to give him credit for being a total team player, and just working his tail off to make the best film possible. By all accounts, he turned in a visually stunning and arresting Star Wars movie; Something different, unique, and awe-inspiring. The apparent flaws that had to be reworked had to do with characterization and the overall flow of the story, which were also the complaints some had about Godzilla.
Let's be patient with him, as he's been humble, patient, and thoughtful throughout this process. During a period of time that saw another young filmmaker, Josh Trank, basically implode after jumping from Chronicle to Fantastic Four, which he was supposed to follow-up with a Star Wars Story film about bounty hunters, Edwards has been the very definition of class and humility.
We should also keep Riz Ahmed's recent comments in mind, regarding the guts it took for Lucasfilm and everyone involved to pull out all the stops in an effort to make a wonderful Star Wars movie and not just be satisfied with a shameless cash grab.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is only a week away!
SOURCE: L.A. Times