WonderCon Interview with Logan Visualization Supervisor Clint Reagan
Our second WonderCon interview is with Logan’s visualization supervisor Clint Reagan. Reagan has worked on films like X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine and the upcoming Marvel/Sony film Spider-Man: Homecoming. Reagan was able to sit down with us over the weekend at WonderCon and share about designing the previs and postvis designs of Hugh Jackman’s last Wolverine film.
From the iconic shots in Logan’s Limo to the last times we saw characters like Charles Xavier on screen, the pre-visualization department works with the production designer, various other departments, and the director to frame the look and feel of certain shots before shooting. We asked Reagan what his process looked like, how he and Mangold collaborated on the designs and what other films influenced Logan’s designs.
Thanks for talking to us! Can you share a little bit about what you do for a living?
I’m a pre-visualization post visualization supervisor animation director for Halcyon entertainment. What I do is like animated storyboards but I don’t use a pencil. We sit at the computer and we build CG characters. We build the CG models, we build the environment they’re inhabiting. A lot like what they do at Pixar or Disney or Dreamworks. I work with the editor, production designer, and stunt team to help them make the movie.
Why is pre-visualization important? Why build the film prior to actually shooting?
You’re doing it to look for the focal pops. You’re trying to find the gems. So when you do have an expensive camera or an expensive crew you know what works. We use virtual reality, we use game engines, we use the oculus. This is how it’s gonna look when we build the thing.
How is this different from a pencil storyboard?
There’s so much more then we can do… so it depends on your goals. If you’re trying to understand the pacing of the story and you need to know exactly how high the camera is then that’s what you would use Pre-Viz for. I’ve encountered everything from highly technical to just wanting to make the studio say “I love it.”
Wow. This really sounds like the future of storytelling. What kind of directors have you gotten to work with in addition to James Mangold?
I’ve gotten to work with Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams. I was on Star Wars for a bit, I’ve worked with Steven on Indiana Jones. Each one of them are different you can see how each one of them wants to work together to make something great. Working with JJ Abrams was a lot like that, “Is this what we need? Is that what we need? No, I’m not feeling that let’s try this.” Jim Mangold was the same way and I love working with people like that.
How did Logan compare to other films that you’ve worked on?
Logan was very grounded. Jim did not want to make a superhero film. On Spongebob, I was told “Do this! Just have fun with it!” We’re trying to harness the director’s vision. Whatever tool we have to understand the director’s vision. By creating something, we help them find the ideas that they want to find. We help them visualize the story.
How did you think about the look of the film? Audouy talked about studying old cowboy films. Did you do something similar?
Jim actually has a TV in his lobby and he just runs the TV all day long. You take a trip to the bathroom and there’s a scene from some old John Wayne film and he’s running it all day long. Old World War 2 films, ’60s films. I pulled stuff from that just inadvertently. We’d stop and just go “Oh that’s so cool! Oh I’m gonna use that!” that turned out to be a bit of our research.
Was it fun to work on it? What sort of films do you prefer to work on?
I like light, I like uplifting, I like zany and I like crazy. I suggest things to Jim I’ll say “what if we do this” and I’m just baiting this. I like light hearted and fun and adventurous. The thing that got me here was The Little Mermaid, then Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, then Great Mouse Detective. I trained in 2D animation. I wanted to work in Walt Disney Features. I made some short films before I came to Disney to work on Emperor’s New Groove which was my first credit.
Logan — Hugh Jackman and James Mangold’s latest X-Men epic — has earned over $215 million domestically and $372 million globally. The final “swan song” of Hugh Jackman’s take on Wolverine is loved and approved of by critics and fans alike. From it’s gritty take on heroism to breakout star Dafne Keen as Laura, Logan has something for everyone.
Logan is currently in theaters.