What goes on behind the scenes at Planet Replicas?
Well, you probably only get to see 20% of the actual work that happens!
Here's Part 1 of an ongoing blog - enjoy!
One of the first projects Planet Replicas became involved in was DREDD 2012.
Or rather, we tried to be involved.....
Before Planet Replicas, so around 2010, we were lucky enough to meet with DNA Films during pre-production of the movie. This involved taking one of the early designs of our 1:1 Judge Dredd costume to show Producer Andrew MacDonald and writer ( Director!?) Alex Garland at DNA's offices in Soho, London.
I can remember the office was lovely- bright, spacious, raw brick walls -with a gigantic 9ft poster of the original Mad Max movie hanging behind Andrews desk. Looking back I didnt realise the implications of that poster.
You can now clearly see the influence of the 2012 DREDD costume looking at Max's clothing....was it there because of Dredd? Or was Andrew a huge Mad Max fan before Dredd came to be?
It was a great day- one of the most memorable parts was being given the opportunity by Alex to read the comic book script adaption by JOCK, which bizarrely I turned down, as I didn't want to know any spoilers(!!). Another person in the meeting whom I didn't really appreciate at the time was costume designer Michael O Conner....
Later on they also gave me permission to visit the set during filming in South Africa, but sadly due to Planet Replicas being very new at this time, both time and money were against me, so I had to decline.
Still gutted- what an idiot I was not to chance it;-(
Having had the meeting with Andrew MacDonald and a few chats afterwards- they also borrowed our comic Dredd helmet for a good while- it was an easy conversation to start asking about a license and we were told once the film was in full swing and filming was underway, we could go back to them.
However, It was quickly apparent that the rights to the movie were with IMGlobal.
It didn't take long for a pitch pack to be made up and sent off- here's our front cover (below). I can't remember how we sourced that cover's picture but it isn't one that I've often seen since- Weird that it wasnt used more in promos. I really liked the photo.
While that was being discussed another angle was also being persued- 3d glasses.....
Knowing the film was in 3d, we wanted to see if we could make 3d glasses for the films release....
This was a bizzarre one to pitch.
The contact I had with the 3d company really couldn't seem to grasp the idea of what we were trying to do- it was so frustrating- and they kept putting us in touch with people who, if anything, would have been be our market competitors.
Our plan was to have the glasses bagged up with the 2000AD prog going out just before the movie's release, and also to ship out to cinemas to use for promotions.....
Manufacturing seemed to be sorted, but, in trying to work to the movie's release dates, and permission to use the lense technology, it was becoming very obvious that the glasses would need to be ready way before it was humanly possible, and with the frustrating delays from the 3d rights holders, it just wasn't going to happen.. Shame- they would have been very cool- here's a concept sheet of some possible options I've dug up-
With Dredd now in the cinemas was it possible to open talks with IMGlobal?
Looking back I think we did our best, but I get the feeling that IMGlobal simply had no interest in running a licensing campaign at this stage.
This could have been for many reasons- its a huge industry and just because one film can be really important to us/ the fans, in the scheme of things its just something passing through the system . I expect IMGobal were already focusing on pushing their new movies due out in the coming months.
Dredd was old news- it was out of the door already.
But that wasn't the end of it by a long shot.
The films box office may have been dissapointing- that's a whole topic in itself- but fans were already looking to source a costume.
"Easy!" we thought, rubbing our hands.....
We did a helmet first.
Using a Comic Dredd helmet and as many references as we could get, a helmet was created:
Looking back it was a shame we didnt make a mold of it- we re-used the base form for a later project- stupid!!
This was good to go.....now the costume......
Im still amazed that no-one else had picked up on this, seeing as clearly people were pouring over the photos- but in one of the first official Facebook posts of the costume etc- about half way down the comments page, someone had posted 'My company made those in-house in SA, it was a great job to have'....
A quick Google and there it was- the company in South Africa who made the Judges leathers from Michael O Connors designs...this was before the movie was even out....
Some emails later and I was hooked up with Costume Designer Diane Cilliers, who had overseen the leathers in SA.
So yet again back to the start- the leather company in SA were happy to make me the leather assets of the costumes from the original tooling patterns etc, Diane was ok about it and happy to assist, Andrew MacDonald had no issues either, but everyone all said the same thing- they needed a go ahead from IMG, and even Rebellion, rights holders to Judge Dredd, weren't able to grant permission either....
Permisson never came.
This dragged on for an age and, being an 'official' representative of the brand, we could only look on as fans happily copied all the elements of the costumes and went on to set up a great little community of buyers and makers.
Strike One for Planet Replicas...
This was gutting to say the least- but it got even worse.
I'd already hooked up with the prop maker who worked on the Lawgivers and after the films launch he'd kindly let me have access to the work he'd done so I could get a head start on pitching a Lawgiver replica.
The reference was obviously accurate so I spent hours replicating the work in CAD- and we ended up being one of the first to have built a movie accurate LG replica over a Glock airsoft.
But again, whilst waiting for events to go in our favour, another maker beat us to the finish line .
Theirs was certainly as good as it needed to be and they certainly didn't need to be waiting to fill in - or pay for- expensive contracts for permission to sell them.
Strike two for Planet Replicas.
Check out the amazing first prototype we made:
As the films likelyhood of a sequel grew less and less, the real nail in the coffin came with the announcement of PropStore's auction of the 2012 Dredd SFX assets.
Fans went mad- we just cried.
There, out in the public domain, were all the original costumes and props.
Makers had a 'field' day...
People bought up the props and costume elements almost exclusively for the sole purpose of being duplicated and sold online.
The DREDD movie costume community boomed to the extent it had its own forum on a prop replica site.
It was open market on the availability of screen accurate pieces.
We could only look on, our hands tied...
The ability to handle and run an official line of DREDD replicas was officially as dead as that first gang member to hit the floor of Peach Trees.
Strike Three- and we're out.
TO BE CONTINUED............