Robert Rodriguez recently premiered a clip at this year’s MIPTV event for his new virtual reality shortfilm endeavor, The Limit. The project hails from Robert Simonds’ STXsurreal in its newly-announced co-financing and producing partnership with Academy Award-Winning VFX firm DNEG.
As Scott Roxborough’s coverage at The Hollywood Reporter noted on Wednesday, The Limit reunites Rodriguez with Fast saga and Machete Kills co-star Michelle Rodriguez in the role of a genetically enhanced weapon of mass destruction hellbent on destroying the covert agency that created her. The Walking Dead series star Norman Reedus will also appear in the shortform VR production.
The Limit will kick off this summer, inagurating STX’s upcoming slate of premium, original, short-form VR series. As part of the deal according to a press announcement a week ago, DNEG will exclusively provide STXsurreal post-production VFX and 3D conversion services on a minimum of six projects.
Others in the slate as included in prior reports in the past week include, but are not limited to, an untitled Dave Bautista action-comedy, Peter Berg’s Mile 22 spinoff The Kiev Exchange, and a sci-fi-thriller from John Wick writer Derek Kolstad. The slate will premiere on STX’s previously announced pay-per-experience VR channel “SURREAL,” launching as an app on VR headsets this summer with dates currently pending.
“With the SURREAL channel, STX is revolutionizing what it means to create premium, original, narrative VR content,” said Rick Rey and Andy Vick, Co- Presidents of STXsurreal. “By partnering with DNEG, and utilizing their Oscar-winning visual effects expertise, we’re doubling down on our promise to bring audiences a truly cinematic and high-quality immersive experience featuring the most sought-after writers, directors and stars in the world today.”
“We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with STXsurreal to create this revolutionary new narrative VR content,” said Matt Holben, CEO, DNEG. “The combination of visionary filmmaking talent like Robert Rodriguez, STXsurreal’s ambition and expertise in the VR and immersive content space and DNEG’s creative pedigree and experience in visual effects makes for a dynamic collaborative partnership that is producing some truly outstanding premium VR content.”
The director’s previous groundbreaking work on Spy Kids 3: Game Over and Sin City are the crux of Roxborough’s coverage in discussing STX’s high-end immersive VR content as Rodriguez’s next phase of creativity.
“POV (point of view) is really, really good in VR, it’s like you’re really inside and action movie,” Rodriguez told The Hollywood Reporter, explaining how The Limit differs from most attempts to do fiction in VR. “We’re a bit less than 360 degrees, we’ve got a 220-degree field of view. So we still have a frame. The viewer can look around, but we’re still directing their attention, they can’t turn around and walk away,” he said.
Most VR, Rodriguez argued, fails to engage the audience. “I always think I’m missing something behind me, so I turn around to look, I’m not paying attention to the action,” he said. “The VR actually makes the experience less engaging for viewers. I wanted to use VR to make them more engaged with the characters and the story.”
Rodriguez returns to the big screen on December 21 with 20th Century Fox’s Alita: Battle Angel. Read more at The Hollywood Reporter.