V FOR VENDETTA, the next futuristic thriller from the Wachowski Brothers and Joel Silver (THE MATRIX trilogy), began shooting today in Berlin, Germany, marking the directorial debut of James McTeigue, who was first assistant director on THE MATRIX movies and STAR WARS: EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES. Dan Glass (BATMAN BEGINS) will serve as visual effects supervisor and London-based Cinesite will provide CGI and model work. Locations will also be shot in London. Silver produces with Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski.
Set in totalitarian Britain in 2040, in an alternative universe where Hitler won World War II, V FOR VENDETTA is based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and illustrator David Lloyd originally published by DC Comics as a 10-part series in 1988. It tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman names Evey (Natalie Portman, REVENGE OF THE SITH), who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked vigilante (James Purefoy, RESIDENT EVIL) known only as V. Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he detonates two London landmarks and takes over the government-controlled airwaves, urging his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about Vs mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plot to bring freedom and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.
The filmmakers were on hand to discuss the production at a Berlin press conference on March 4. Obviously my previous experience will help a lot, said McTeigue. A film can be sometimes daunting, but I have a lot of experience with a wide range of films from small budget to very large budget films. It think that will help in the process.
The Wachowskis and Silver worked long before THE MATRIX on V FOR VENDETTA. Silver explained, There had been a script for this project several years ago. Then we jumped on THE MATRIX and did the three movies. They came to me during the post-production of the movies and asked me to revive that picture. James, who worked really closely with us on THE MATRIX films, did all the directing of the advertising and the promotional things that we did... The boys wanted him to direct the movie and they went back to the script and recrafted it and here we are.
V FOR VENDETTA will be more people centered than THE MATRIX movies, and will sport a Victorian look, but there will be a lot of special visual effects, including miniature models, but not as much CGI. McTeigue added, We could have shot the picture in Australia as well, as we did with THE MATRIX trilogy, but we need the architecture of London and some exterior sets and locations here in Berlin so it is the best place to make the picture. It is not an enormously expensive movie but its no low-budget film either.
On the digital front, the same people who were involved on THE MATRIX movies are among the crew. Cinesite was chosen due to the amount of miniature model work required and because of their location.
The essence of the movie is people shouldnt be afraid of their governments and governments shouldnt be afraid of their people and thats what we are going to be pursuing offered co-producer Grant Hill. It is a smart and intelligent but also very visual movie script and exciting. Its a wonderful journey that we can take in the story and take people with us. Its a magical and unusual world in an unusual time.
A U.K.-German co-production between Warner Bros. Prods. Ltd. and Fünfte Babelsberg Film GmbH, V FOR VENDETTA will be released on Nov. 4 by Warner Bros. Pictures. Not coincidentally, Nov. 5 marks the 400th anniversary of Guy Fawkes infamous attempt to blow up the Houses Of Parliament.
--Reported by Tulay Tetiker