James Gunn, Betsy Paterson Talk ‘Peacemaker’ VFX, More – The Process – Deadline

When visual effects supervisor Betsy Paterson was approached to Peacemakershe jumped at the chance to not only reteam with filmmaker James Gunn, but also delve into a story that required creature effects of all kinds.

“Making creatures is my favorite thing to do,” says Paterson, “and having a creature that’s really part of the team [at the center of the story]I looked forward to those interactions and the possibilities for comedy and action within that setting.

The HBO Max series created, written, directed and produced by Gunn follows the explosive escapades of the character that John Cena takes over following Gunn’s film in 2021 The Suicide Squad– an irresistibly vain man who believes in peace at all costs, no matter how many people he has to kill to get it.

The project marked Gunn and Paterson’s third together, on the heels of Warner Bros.’ 2002 live action scooby-doo 2004 film and its sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed— both of which Gunn wrote about. And certainly, he had his fair share of creatures to work with, between Peacemaker Eagly’s sidekick, a homicidal gorilla named Charlie, the gigantic monster called the Cow, and the parasitic aliens known as Butterflies.

Paterson recently joined Gunn for a conversation as part of Deadline’s video series The Process, in which she breaks down her work on all of the above and divulges the secrets to achieving feature-level effects in a television series. She also talks about falling into the world of visual effects, her early career at famed Rhythm and Hues studios, Scooby-Doo as a star character in VFX film, how the role of the VFX supervisor has changed over the decades, his upcoming work on Noah Hawley Extraterrestrial series to FX, and more.

Gunn talks about the actors he’s worked with, whom he considers to be the most adept at handling visual effects-based shots, the balance he seeks to strike between practical and visual effects, scooby-doothe importance of to his career, a failed attempt to incorporate a real eagle into some Eaglely shots, and his belief that Restore peacera “some of the best visual effects” of any TV show in history, also explaining why his VFX journey with the show was one of the smoothest he’s ever had. Other topics include the cow as the series’ “visual effects masterpiece”, its third and final guardians of the galaxy movie and upcoming Guardians holiday special, Weta’s contributions to Peacemakerthe storytelling lessons he took from his time on the seriesand the VFX lessons from Season 1 that it will bring to Season 2.

Peacemaker premiered on HBO Max in January and was renewed for a second round the following month. The series also stars Danielle Brooks, Freddie Stroma, Jennifer Holland, Chukwudi Iwuji, Steve Agee and Robert Patrick. Gunn wrote all eight episodes of Season 1 and directed five, including the first. Gunn, Peter Safran and Matt Miller serve as executive producers on the series, with John Cena as co-executive producer and Stacy Littlejohn as consulting producer. Based on DC characters, Peacemaker is produced by Gunn’s Troll Court Entertainment and The Safran Company in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Watch Gunn’s entire conversation with Paterson above.

Briana R. Cross