SALT LAKE CITY — Disney’s upcoming “The Lion King” remake looks lavishly realistic, but it’s not live-action and it wasn’t filmed in Africa.
The whole movie was shot by director Jon Favreau on a soundstage using virtual reality.
According to IGN, Favreau opted to film the computer graphics-heavy movie using Oculus and Vive VR headsets in order to align more with his filmmaking style. To accommodate that, a “virtual toybox” was used to lay out objects in the film’s world. The filmmaking team also created custom camera equipment that could be interacted with in VR.
“It has the feeling of a live-action shoot because that’s the way I learned how to direct. It wasn’t sitting, looking over somebody’s shoulder or computer. It was being in a real location, and there’s something about being in a real 3D environment that makes it, I don’t know, just the parts of my brain are firing that fire on a real movie,” Favreau said.
Actors were also shot using long-lens cameras that recorded their faces, which were used to animate the animal characters. Favreau found this method — instead of using traditional motion capture and voiceover work — allowed the actors to “perform freely.”Comment on this story
Favreau previously directed “The Jungle Book” for Disney and used a similar approach to “virtual production,” according to the Hollywood Reporter. That movie was primarily shot on bluescreen to accommodate Neel Sethi, the lone live-action actor, who portrayed Mowgli.
Variety also reports Stephen Spielberg used Vive headsets to shoot the video game segments in “Ready Player One,” which featured stylized digital environments and action sequences.
“The Lion King” stars Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones and Chiwetel Ejiofor and comes to theaters on July 19.