Filmmaker Gareth Edwards is as confused as anyone about why Hollywood’s special effects blockbusters cost millions of dollars to make.
“I’d love for you to ask that same question to (Hollywood producers) and say, ‘Why is it so expensive?’” said the Emmy-nominated visual effects prodigy-turned-director recently in Toronto. “Essentially it’s a guy on a computer in a room doing it. Who’s getting the $10 million?”
With his thriller Monsters, Edwards is defying convention with his own sci-fi blockbuster that features a Mexico overrun by enormous octopus-like aliens. Impressively slick, the first-time filmmaker has proven that you can craft incredible effects that don’t rely on an Avatar-sized bankroll.
“I genuinely don’t know (how much it cost),” admitted Edwards while insisting Internet rumours the price tag was as low as US$15,000 are false.
“We all got paid a wage so there’s no way it could’ve been done for that, but probably the budget could’ve been close to that in terms of what was spent on-screen. It was a very low budget.”
Monsters isn’t only attracting attention for its cost-effective effects however. Comparing the film to District 9, critics are taking note of the movie’s political subtext regarding American security and border policies — a distinction Edwards quickly downplays.
“It’s really much more a case (that) I wanted to do this monster movie but I wanted it to be real, so you pull from real world situations,” said Edwards. “(But) there’s a lot of little parallels in there and I’m very happy for them to be there because I didn’t want to make a film that was (just) entertainment.”