Paul Franklin Q&A: ‘Interstellar’ visual effects
Visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin faced a sizeable challenge with "Interstellar," a special-effects extravaganza that takes place in the farthest reaches of outer space. Yet the old pro, who won the Oscar for "Inception" (2010) and was nominated for "The Dark Knight" (2008), found assistance from an unlikely source. Kip Thorne, a leading theoretical physicist, was brought onboard early on to assist Franklin and his team with the creation of the wormhole that Matthew McConaughey travels through in his search for new worlds.
"What Kip did…was he gave me what I call ‘Space-Time 101,’" Franklin tells us in our video interview. "He took me through all the really important basic concepts of what a wormhole is, how space and time are warped by these things, and really sort of brought me up to speed on all of the key theoretical concepts that are behind the story of ‘Interstellar.’"
Franklin also explains how these teachings influenced him to be as scientifically accurate as possible: "these sorts of things have been very much sort of common currency in science fiction films for many, many years, but (Thorne) pointed out to me they’ve never been shown accurately."
Unfortunately for Franklin and his team, there are as of yet no visual representations of what a wormhole really looks like. However, as he says, "What was going to be possible was that Kip was going to be able to give us the math and the physics behind these things, and then we’d work out how we would go about actually turning this into something we could put into the film."
This led to months of Thorne working closely with the research and development branch of the VFX department, after which Franklin says, "the images that we produced…were so compelling that they went into the film pretty much unadorned."
Franklin is predicted to win his second Oscar with odds of 9/5, ahead of summer blockbusters "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (10/3) and "Guardians of the Galaxy" (9/2).