A Writer's Odyssey is a movie about the author of a fantasy novel series whose stories have somehow crossed over into the real world. Things get serious when one of the characters is tasked with killing the author. Set to release on February 12th, 2021, we were lucky enough to chat with the Writer/Director Lu Yang on making A Writer's Odyssey, which is out now and showing in select theaters.
What inspired you to adapt the novel, To Kill A Novelist?
Initially, it was just my impulse to create. After I finished reading the original novel, I really wanted to turn it into a film.
Our protagonist, the author is such a relatable character. Why do you think international audiences will be able to relate to him?
I think both the father (Guan Ning), who is willing to sacrifice everything for his child, and the author Kongwen, who keeps writing despite many obstacles, are relatable for people around the world — they keep believing and persisting in their goals, even when the going gets tough. I think this is something everyone can appreciate and relate to.
The themes of the film have to do with hope and believing in oneself. Can you tell us why these were important to the film?
When I was a teenager, I was really impacted by films that supported themes of hope. Because of that influence, I have wanted to make a film about hope for a very long time. I hope that I can make a film as meaningful as those that influenced me, to share the power of hope with more audiences.
VFX plays a big role in A Writer's Odyssey. Do you find filming those VFX sequences difficult? Is it more fun than directing traditional scenes?
It is indeed very interesting and fun! When you're producing a VFX film, you can use the most advanced techniques to create content that is impossible to be created otherwise. It’s like a superpower. But at the same time, when you gain more from it, you need to study more and put more effort into doing it right. It is a difficult task, and it gets more and more complicated, as film is an art that’s always changed and renewed by technology. No matter what kind of films we are making, we need to keep studying and improving ourselves to make sure we are using the new technology to tell stories in the way that we want.
There’s a lot of cool fight scenes in this film. How do you go about collaborating with a fight choreographer?
First, we analyzed the script in detail. Then, we bought a lot of toy models, and we used them to simulate different poses of the characters. We used those models to rehearse the shooting script of action scenes, then worked with the fight choreographer to further refine the plan and come up with more interesting details. We rehearsed and tested again and again with the small models. The fight choreographer would have some stunt actors to shoot a demo then we kept optimizing the results by comparing the models and the demos.
From start to finish, how long did A Writer's Odyssey take to get made?
Three years in total, starting from the time we finished the scriptwriting.