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June 2018

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Page 23 of 43 22 POST JUNE 2018 SUMMER MOVIES HOTEL ARTEMIS FILMMAKER DREW PEARCE DISCUSSES HIS DIRECTORIAL DEBUT BY MARC LOFTUS rew Pearce makes his directorial debut with Hotel Artemis, a new film set in Los Angeles in 2028, where riots have broken out due to water shortages. Jodie Foster stars as a nurse, who runs a secret, members-only emergency room within a once luxurious art deco hotel, where criminals can be treated without authorities being alerted. Dave Bautista plays her loyal assistant, Everest. The criminals prefer to remain anonymous and are therefor referred to by the name of the themed suite they are staying in: Sofia Boutella plays hit-woman Nice; Sterling K. Brown's Waikiki char- acter is recovering from a failed bank heist; and Charlie Day, as Acapulco, is nearing discharge yet still looking for respect from his fellow criminals. Jeff Goldblum plays LA kingpin, Niagra, who has a stake in the hotel. Pearce spent 33-days on the production, select- ing Chung-Hoon Chung as his cinematographer, who shot with an Arri Alexa. "Finances are the gift and curse, but when you are the writer/director, it behooves you to use that 'judo logic' — use your weakness as your strength," says Pearce of shooting digital over film. "I met with ton of DPs because I was lucky enough to have lots of interest in it, and about a third of the way through the process I realized, half the references I was showing people were actually from Chung's movies, and maybe I should speak to him instead? His work is so deep and dark and beautiful." Pearce looked at dailies every night, "because I am a detail freak and masochist," he laughs. The hotel set was much smaller than what the audience sees. Each themed vacation suite was shot and then redesigned to serve as another one of the suites. Once they were changed over, there was no going back. "I needed to know I had everything in each build because I would never have it back again," says Pearce. Editorial was shared between Paul Zucker and Gardner Gould. Zucker worked through production and onto the director's cut. "He is really great and a fast editor," says Pearce of Zucker, "particularly at the assembly…But you get to a point where you need fresh ideas, and I adored the 1st assistant and his work — Gardner Gould." Post production was consolidated under one roof at Cantina Creative ( in LA, allowing the production to maximize its budget. "I wanted to keep it in Los Angeles," Pearce explains, "partly because I wanted it to feel like a Los Angeles movie and partly for the tax credit. I ended up speaking with Sean Cushing at Cantina and put forward this idea of using one VFX house in the same way I would use a production depart- ment in the other aspects of the movie…We set up (an editorial) suite downstairs and it was a truly fulfilling experience." Zucker and Gould cut the film using Adobe Premiere Pro, while visual effects — 480 in total — were being created upstairs. "I had a two-pronged attack on the exteriors," says Pearce of the VFX. "I knew we were going to need augmentation of the exteriors, because we are in the middle of a riot in 2028, but I also knew I wanted to shoot in real Los Angeles on real rooftops because I wanted to capture the light spill that is absolutely uniquely part of the fingerprint of Los Angeles. "I also had enough experience with big green- screen work to know that if I built a roof on my budget and green-screened all around it, than there would be shots that I would end up unsatis- fied [with]." Rooftop scenes were shot on top of the Rosslyn Hotel in downtown LA and required extensive 3D work to add signage and atmosphere. "My whole preference with VFX — and Cantina was on the same page — is that they disappear. The less VFX that you think is in the movie, the happier I am. Working with great VFX artists who understand that, I think, is the most selfless, artistic approach to VFX." While he had a vision of what the final film might look like as both writer and director, Pearce says he had to remain open for changes. "There are so many ways in which a movie chang- es when you are making it," he explains. "It doesn't end up being quite the thing that you expected it to be, and nor should it. I think one of the things that's most important…is to listen to the movie while you are shooting it, and particularly in the edit — to really take a step back and listen to the film." Pearce references a phrase in the movie that is spoken by Waikiki, Sterling K. Brown's character: "'Work with what you've got, not what you hoped for.' And I think it's the best mantra for post production as well." D The film was shot on Arri's Alexa. Cantina handled VFX. Pearce and Brown, on set

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