To Fight Monsters, We Created Monsters In 'Pacific Rim'

Jul 3, 2013
The depths of the ocean have always held a fascination for people, but we have always assumed that its wonders—and its dangers—are of our own world.

We were wrong.
That intriguing premise gave rise to Warner Bros. Pictures & Legendary Pictures' new action adventure “Pacific Rim.” As the film begins, a breach in the floor of the Pacific Ocean unleashes a cataclysmic threat to the human race.
Director Guillermo del Toro, who also co-wrote and served as a producer on the film, relates, “Through that portal come creatures that are larger and more ferocious and brutal than anything we have ever seen: the Kaiju. In order to grapple with them, mankind pulls together all its resources and invents the largest, most dynamic and most versatile weapon ever devised. They create the Jaeger Program—towering 25-story-high robots, each operated by two pilots whose minds are neurally linked together.”
He continues, “It was a project that encompassed every single thing on my wish list, visually, atmospherically and emotionally…an unstoppable, thrilling adventure about monsters and robots, the likes of which we’ve never seen.”
Producer Thomas Tull offers, “Just that description, ‘giant monsters versus giant robots,’ gives you a sense of the scope and scale, not to mention the action and fun. And there is also an element of mystery in that we don’t know why the Kaiju are attacking. What do they want and how is humanity going to react? How can we possibly defend ourselves against them?”
The story originated with screenwriter Travis Beacham, who was on the actual Pacific Rim—on the coast of California—when the central elements of the film began to take shape. He recounts, “I remember walking along the beach in Santa Monica. It was a particularly foggy morning and there was something about the shape of the pier in the fog jutting out into the water... An image just kind of popped into my head of a behemoth, a monster, rising from the surf to meet this giant robot waiting on the shore to do battle.
“However,” Beacham acknowledges, “I knew that by itself was not a story. What really crystallized the plot for me was figuring out who is driving the robot, and finally determining it had to be two pilots—two people whose minds would have to be intimately connected to control this massive thing. That’s when the pieces started to fall into place in a very organic way.”
After collaborating with producers Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni as a screenwriter on “Clash of the Titans,” Beacham told them about his original idea for a winner-take-all war that joins man and machine against aliens, who don’t invade from beyond our galaxy, but rather ascend from the deep.
“I was hooked from the first moment Travis pitched it to us,” Tull recalls. “The film is about humanity being up against something unexpected and utterly overwhelming, and how they have to come together to combat it. We also thought the notion that we could be invaded from within was a very cool concept.”
“You can’t really run from it because they are coming from a place that’s inescapably on Earth,” Beacham adds. “Part of the allure of the ocean is that it hides its secrets so well. There are so many myths about sea monsters and giant serpents and all the other things people suppose are down there. I think there is something elementally terrifying about what can come out of this blackness.”
As del Toro began crafting the screenplay with Beacham, he became totally immersed in the world they were forming. He attests, “The more we developed the universe, the more I became personally invested in the story, the characters, the monsters, the robots, and everything it would take to make it all real. I couldn’t wait.”
“Working with Guillermo is incredible,” Beacham remarks. “He bristles with ideas and can come up with the most brilliant strokes of insight at the drop of a hat. He also loves monster movies, so we were definitely playing in his sandbox,” he laughs. “He came at the project with a genuine passion for the material, which I think was vital to the soul of the movie.”
Del Toro’s enthusiasm was not only contagious to everyone involved in the film, but is also largely the reason he has become an unequivocal favorite among genre fans. In fact, he would be the first to count himself among those collectively known as “fanboys.”
Producer Mary Parent says, “Guillermo has a special connection to that audience because he is that audience, and that makes a huge difference. He is just as excited about creating these amazing worlds as we are to see them. You know, going in, he’s going to deliver a visceral, thrilling rollercoaster.”
Opening across the Philippines in July 11 in IMAX 3D, Digital 3D, 2D and regular theaters, “Pacific Rim” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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