Justice League production designer shares secrets of film's design
The League’s battle scenes were choreographed with the movement of each superhero in mind—even those who were largely CGI. “The posture of Cyborg was extremely important,” says Ray Fisher. “He’s in a new body. His movements are a lot more difficult. He has to learn how to master that. Putting on that 30 lbs. [of muscle], I felt like I was in a different kind of shell. Being able to feel that weight, adjust the posture, adjust my shoulders.”
Entertainment Weekly’s The Ultimate Guide to Justice League, going behind the scenes of the upcoming movie and into the origin stories of the League’s members, is on sale now.
BATMAN AND BEYOND
Tatopoulos became a key collaborator for director Zack Snyder on 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, developing a new look for Gotham’s loner hero. “[Snyder wanted] a Batman that’s tough, bold, stronger, a little older. . - It felt like the guy was brutal—like Brutalism in architecture. This is why the Batcave is made of blocks; the glass house is very blocky.” On Justice League Tatopoulos designed the hero’s fleet of vehicles, and he found it exciting to create whole aesthetics around the characters. “The great thing about Justice League was more about: ‘What is the palette for Flash’s world? What is the palette for Wonder Woman’s world? What about the world of Aquaman?’ ”
The crablike Knightcrawler is full of surprises. Batman’s vehicle of choice when things get harried, the off-road vehicle can go into tunnels and climb, thanks to the spikes that adorn its legs and can protrude into walls. Add in its fire-shooting capabilities, and it’s a formidable foe. With all this, the Knight Crawler is surefire scene-stealer. “We built the whole cockpit of this thing so we could shoot it with the actors,” says Tatopoulos. “It’s part of all the fun sequences in the film, and [I think] people are going to love it.”
The idyllic island of Themyscira is under attack—this time from the aliens of Apokolips who are searching for an important artifact the Amazons have vowed to protect. The warrior women are, naturally, willing to battle them at all costs. “There is this moment when the bad guys—who are just so giant and overwhelmingly huge—[come after us]—and you would kind of think the Amazons would back down from that. But we [don’t], and there is a sequence of stunts that [we did] that were just amazing,” says Connie Nielsen, who plays Queen Hippolyta in the film.
Wayne Enterprises’ Flying Fox is the pièce de résistance of Batman’s arsenal. Three stories tall, it’s the perfect vehicle to hold everything the Justice League could possibly need. The bottom floor is big enough to house the Batmobile and serve as the meeting place for disparate members of the team, while the second floor holds all the technology and media that keeps the thing moving. And, of course, up top sits the cockpit, large enough for Batman and friends to navigate the enormous jet fighter/cargo plane.
IN THE COCKPIT
Tatopoulos had his ah-ha design moment on the Flying Fox when he slid the cockpit all the way to the back of the top floor as a way to expand the view from inside and give it its unique design aesthetic. “[Sliding it all the way back] gave it a very different shape,” he says. “When you look out from the cockpit, you see 120 feet in front of you.”
MAKING THE JET
Tatopoulos also got to build the entire interior of the jet, constructing it out of mesh and structured steel so you can see in between all three floors. “I’m excited about this one,” he adds.
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