How Gareth Edwards Beat the System to Land ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Rogue One’

They thought a VFX designer could never be a director, but Gareth Edwards proved everybody wrong.

As a teenager, Gareth Edwards had a very specific plan on how he’d make it big. It was pretty simple. He’d just do what his idol, Steven Spielberg, did. He recapped this list in the beginning of his SXSW keynote earlier this week: “I made cheap films with my father's camera, check. I went to university, check. I made a professional short film, check.” The overwhelming difference in the two directors’ paths really came in the final step. “I sent it to Hollywood producers and got given a very polite rejection letter.”

The road to Rogue One did not start off easy for Edwards. “I was twenty-one years old, just finished film school and felt like I sort of had just wasted my life,” he remembered. “But one of the things that happens at film school, is of course, that you meet other film students. One of the guys that I was living with studied this brand new thing called ‘computer animation.’ It was very clear back then, Jurassic Park had just come out in cinemas, that this was going to be the future of filmmaking.”

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