Making Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with Peyton Reed

Peyton Reed, known for his work on films such as Ant-Man, Bring It On, and Yes Man, recently discussed his experiences of working on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, the third instalment in the Ant-Man franchise, as well as his filmmaking experience with our host, Giles Alderson.

One of the biggest challenges facing Peyton and his team was creating the look and feel of the quantum realm, a key setting in the film.

As he explained, “Obviously you can’t go shoot on location in the quantum realm. We had to figure out all the different methodologies of doing it.” To accomplish this, the team utilized a variety of techniques, including traditional blue and green screens, as well as cutting-edge technology known as “the volume.”

The volume is a 360-degree LED screen that allows filmmakers to create virtual environments for their actors to perform in. Peyton noted that while the technology is expensive, it provides a number of benefits for actors, who are able to see the environments they’re acting in rather than having to rely on their imaginations.

‘Actors love it because they don’t have to use their imaginations. But for certain things in the movie, we had to create a lot of different environments within the quantum.’

The process of creating these environments is highly technical and requires a great deal of lead time, so he emphasized the importance of pre-planning in order to create the necessary flexibility to capture the perfect shots.

Despite the technical considerations involved in creating these environments, he was determined to keep the focus on the actors’ performances. As he explained, “My main thing as a director is, whatever those technical considerations are, to try and shield the actors from it as much as possible so they can feel relaxed and spontaneous. If you start losing the life and the performance, that’s when it’s dead.”

Another key aspect of the filmmaking process, according to Peyton, is the importance of collaboration between the director, cinematographer, and other key crew members.

Director/ Cinematographer Relationship

Having worked with cinematographer Bill Pope on multiple projects, the two have developed a close working relationship based on their ability to communicate effectively and work together to achieve their vision.

‘We go through the script very specifically and talk about the kinetics of the movie, but we also talk about the emotion of the movie and in specific scenes.’

He noted that the director-cinematographer relationship is for him a highly collaborative one as they revise their plans based on what they see during rehearsals. The ultimate goal is to remain fluid and adaptable, allowing for the creation of the best possible film.

Pitching

He also shared insights into the pitching process, which he described as “such a strange thing” and said that pitching a film requires a delicate balance of passion and practicality.

On the one hand, the filmmaker must be passionate about the project they’re pitching and must have a unique take on the material; on the other hand, the filmmaker must be able to communicate their vision in a way that is practical and achievable, in order to win over the executives who hold the keys to greenlighting the project.

Final Words of Advice

His advice for aspiring filmmakers? Remain persistent and to not let rejection get in the way of their dreams.

‘To land a part or to get that job, no matter how passionate you are, it has got to be a combination of persistence, talent, and that X factor (being in the right place at the right time.) You’ve got to know that and not let that defeat you. That’s a big lesson.’

For more from Peyton Reed, listen here.

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