Carl delves into Rob Bredow’s sublime behind-the-scenes insight into the making of Solo: A Star Wars Story
I adore the making of the Star Wars movies books. It’s not good enough that I love and rever the films and mostly the novels that accompany them, I have to have all the behind the scenes stories and secrets of the making of the films at my disposal. It doesn’t seem right if I don’t have them in my collection. The collection feels incomplete without them. I’ve got every making of the film book, from the original Star Wars through to the paperback documenting the making of The Empire Strikes Back and up to the large hardbacks released to accompany the original, prequel and sequel trilogies. They all sit proudly in my collection, always ready to be pulled out and read, re-read or having to check my facts.
Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story | By Rob Bredow
Rob Bredow has written the official making of Solo: A Star Wars Story hardback book. Bredow is the SVP, Executive Creative Director and head of Industrial Light & Magic. He was nominated for the Oscar for Best Achievement In Visual Effects for the film, an honour that, in my opinion, was misgiven to someone else. Obviously, the man knows his stuff without reproach. Here he has delivered a book that allows the reader to indulge in every aspect of the film and has delivered masterfully.
With a foreword by director Ron Howard, the book opens as it means to go on. No detail, however how small, is overlooked. In his foreword, Howard describes his first connection to Star Wars. While filming the classic American Grafitti, he asked his director, a young man by the name of George Lucas, what his next film would be. Lucas answered he was planning a Sci-fi film, like Flash Gordon or Buck Rodgers. The rest is, of course, history. Howard describes his arrival into the Star Wars universe as like boarding an already fast-moving train. On his first day, he sat down with Kathleen Kennedy and a small team to view what had been filmed before his arrival to take control of the troubled production. He details his meetings with screenwriter Jon Kasdan, who he retained on set to script the creative vision Howard had. The films co-producer John Schwartz who was eventually asked to direct the splinter unit. And workings with Rob Bredow himself who was busy working on the visual storytelling for the acclaimed “Conveyex Train Heist” and the “Kessel Run” sequences. Howard also speaks about reuniting with Industrial Light & Magic again after their collaboration on the fantasy film, Willow back in 1986.
Rob Bredow himself in his introduction speaks about the impact the original Star Wars film had on him in his childhood. How he was inspired after seeing Dennis Muren’s stellar work on the AT-AT sequence in The Empire Strikes Back and went on to borrow his fathers 8mm camera and make a stop animation film using his own AT-AT walker toy. Bredow documents his feelings on being asked by ILM’S Chief creative officer, John Knoll if he would be interested in being a VFX supervisor on an upcoming Star Wars film, working alongside the artists at ILM and his unbridled joy at being sent notes by his hero, Dennis Muren, giving him confidence and encouragement in attaining the best he could possibly do on the film.
Throughout this impressive book, Bredow shows us his own behind the scenes photographs he took during the production of the film. Nothing is left out. Everything is covered in minute detail to our enjoyment. From the behind the scenes shots of the actors portraying Stormtroopers with their helmets off during breaks in filming, the actors rehearsing their scenes, from dramatic, comedic, thrilling up to their own fight scenes, all are represented here.
All departments have their moments in the book. The art department is well represented, the set builders are fully featured with their little secrets of how they managed to pull off some of the most visually impressive aspects of the worlds and surroundings of the film, the sound designers get in on the act, describing how they managed to attain the impressive sound throughout the film and the visual effects artists who created worlds and events that had us pinned to our seats throughout the films running time. Nothing is missed throughout this book. Every aspect is catered for and dragged into the light for us to peruse at our leisure.
This is exactly how I like my making of books. No stone left unturned. Yes, I love to immerse myself into the films, to just sit back, relax and allow myself to be swept away by the grand scale unfolding before me but, like a kid who pesters a magician to reveal how they performed their greatest trick, I have to know every aspect of the film once I’ve seen it a few dozen times or more. There’s no aspect of the filmmaking business I’m not interested in discovering more about. These kinds of books allow me to indulge my fascination to the fore.
Rob Bredow has delivered a fantastic, insightful book which deserves a place in any film fans collection. With the knowledge that he was the senior VFX supervisor on the film adds to the weight of the book and a fantastic in-depth story of a fascinating and enjoyable film. Documenting all of the ups and downs of the history and production of the film, the book is a wholly satisfying experience that has to be read and seen to be believed. With this in mind, the book is a triumph.
Until next time.
Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story by Rob Bredow is published by Abrams Books and is available to buy NOW. © and TM 2019 Lucasfilm Ltd.
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