By Fred Topel | Image property of 20th Century Fox
Brett Ratner on the set of X-Men: The Last Stand
All Big summer movies seem to be made in a time crunch these days, shooting for a release date before a script is even finished. On X-Men: The Last Stand, the rush was compounded by losing two directors along the way. Brett Ratner came in at the late stage last summer, but felt no rush once shooting began.
Brett Ratner on X-Men 3
“You know, everyone keeps asking me about it,” Ratner said. “The truth is I had 125 days to shoot. It’s not like I had to half the time to shoot it. I had more time than X2 so I can’t complain about them giving me the time. The rush was really on the visual effects. The visual effects came out great.”
While he was shooting and editing, Ratner had to trust that his visual effects team would deliver the goods. “It’s out of your hands. You draw it, you design it, show the people.” The only thing that got him through the process was having begun it before when he developed a version of Superman.
“The process of working with animatics and storyboards and visual effects supervisors, it’s just that process was helpful because I had been through it before. It seemed to be easier [the second time.]”
Otherwise, he can focus on shooting the scenes. Even though a large portion will be added in later, it’s not like he’s doing Sky Captain in a total void. “Because it’s CGI enhancement, it’s not a completely CGI world. We do take something and shoot it so it’s tangible, like the bridge. We built a quarter mile of the bridge in Vancouver. We built miniatures. It’s like the [difference between the] first Star Wars and the last Star Wars.”
With the script pretty much finished by the time Ratner came on board, the only changes he made were structural. “I did a lot of work on the script. I didn’t change the story, I just changed the structure. If you want an example of that, the huge third act set piece which is the Golden Gate Bridge, that was originally in the middle of the movie and was used in a very different context. I just took that set piece and I moved it the third act so it was more part of the plot. It was structural changes that I was doing, where things happen.”
X-Men 3: The Last Stand opens this upcoming weekend, May 26th.