Judge Dredd co-creator John Wagner has been answering questions about his visit to the set of Dredd in Cape Town, South Africa. Here are a few of his observations;
Very pleased with what I saw of Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby. Both excellent in their roles and work well as a team. Entire crew really dedicated and determined to produce a damned good movie. Sadly I had to leave before I could see them shooting any ultra-vi. Extremely impressed by the 3-D – apart from the demo at Universal Studios in LA, my memories were of the feeble efforts I saw as a youth. This is a real quantum leap from that, really adds depth. This is going to be good.
On the screenplay writer;
Alex Garland and I have had our disagreements but he has usually had a convincing argument for doing things his way. On the main issue, concentrating the plot on a slice of life rather than trying to convey the wh…ole sweep of Dredd and Mega-City life, I now see that he’s right. It was one of the flaws of the first movie, they tried to do too much. I just had a brief conversation with Karl, he’s much too hard at work to spare a lot of time. There was one shot where the camera focused in on his face, a reaction to Anderson, and I swear Carlos could have drawn that scowl.
The uniform was still fairly paramilitary, Dale, but it works for me.
On the film’s tech, particularly Judge Dredd’s bike and gun;
Only got to see a partial shell of a lawmaster, so can’t really comment, but did handle a lawgiver. Looked good. Plenty of attention’s been given to the script already and of course everything at the moment is a little fluid, so where rew…riting has to be done it gets done. Don’t know anything about a dedicated film website but I imagine DNA will do something like that. There was plenty of graffiti, David, and there was nothing I can think of that I thought was bad or wrong. Karl, when he’s acting (and even when he’s not!), IS Judge Dredd. If the Meg says it’ll run some shot, it probably will.
I saw them setting up a lot of stuff for SFX but didn’t get to see the final result. While in the FX dept a huge explosion went off – practically jumped out of my skin. Max the tech trying to figure out how to explode a lawgiver without killing the actor using it!
What I saw, Lee, was very Mega-City. South Africa’s got something of Mega-City about it in any case. On the morning I was supposed to do an interview with a reporter from Time Magazine I got a text from the studio: “Time reporter has been mugged – interview is cancelled.”
No, the uniform doesn’t look like a muscle suit. It is very believable. To others – as they say at PMQs – I refer you to my earlier answers. I’m very satisfied with the way it’s going but it’s not going to fulfill everyone’s hopes and …dreams – that would be impossible with so many diverse demands upon it. Let’s say that it’s a damned good start and my guess is that most fans are going to like it a lot. Remember, if this one does well there will be more films to follow and these will cover other aspects of Mega-City life. By the end of it we should have a very good picture of Dredd’s world in the round.
The eagle was on the shoulder, I think (I’m not that tuned to the visual aspect of things), muted but satisfactory. Karl’s got many voices and he certainly gets the gruffness and authority in Dredd’s. Pete’s pretty clued up on Dredd, as are many of the crew, being old-time 2000AD readers. I was surprised by how many had an in depth knowledge of and love for the character. That was very gratifying.