Industrial Light & Magic Ups John Knoll to Chief Creative Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

John Knoll Industrial Light and Magic

With Lucasfilm gearing up for a new era of active production of Star Wars films and TV series, the company has upped John Knoll to chief creative officer of Industrial Light & Magic.

Knoll joins ILM president Lynwen Brennan at the top of the storied f/x studio.

Knoll’s credits as vfx supervisor include the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” pictures, the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, two “Mission: Impossible” pics, two “Star Trek” films and the upcoming “Pacific Rim.” He won a vfx Oscar for the second “Pirates” pic and was co-leader of ILM’s production team on the Oscar-winning animated feature “Rango.”

In his new role, Knoll will be involved in early creative planning for all projects that come to ILM. Said Brennan: “I was looking to find someone to partner with. We always have a vfx supervisor and producer partnered to run a show here. You have the creative and the business side.”

Knoll will be the creative voice in across-the-board planning for ILM while Brennan will focus on business and costs.

Knoll’s promotion reflects Lucasfilm topper Kathleen Kennedy’s feeling that because of the growing complexity of f/x-driven pictures and their cost structures, it’s crucial to have a creative voice of Knoll’s stature in early planning, “I felt very strongly the company needed that,” Kennedy told Variety.

The chief creative officer title is especially significant now that ILM and Lucasfilm are owned by Disney. In the history of the Mouse House, only John Lasseter has ever had a chief creative officer title. Knoll will continue to work on individual titles as a vfx supe — he joined the team on “The Lone Ranger” as that pic entered its final push to completion — in addition to his managerial duties.

ILM is having a particularly busy summer, having been the lead vfx studio on “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “The Lone Ranger,” and “Pacific Rim.” Knoll is the vfx supervisor on “Pacific Rim,” which is skedded for release July 12.

He says he will encourage collective troubleshooting at ILM. “Folks tend to get very busy on their own shows,” said Knoll, “and don’t have time to periodically share with everybody else what they’re working on. ‘Have you thought about that?’ We have this wealth of talent that if we’re smart we leverage on all projects.”

“We have well-established supervisors here that certainly don’t need me to interfere with their projects,” said Knoll. “Michael Bay comes because he wants to work with Scott Farrar. J.J. (Abrams) comes to ILM because he has a great relationship with Roger Guyett. These things are already working and I don’t need to interfere. (My role) is just to help from a facilities standpoint to make sure they get the resources they need, and to troubleshoot problems.”

ILM is in active planning for the next “Star Wars” picture and Brennan said the company is planning to manage all of the vfx for “Episode VII” and future “Star Wars” pics, though she left the door open to subcontracting some of the work. The company is investigating the possibility of opening a London branch, said Brennan.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 6

Leave a Reply

6 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. C. Taylor says:

    John Knoll is the reason I left ILM after fifteen years. His leadership on Pacific Rim, coupled with his poorly conceived and executed sweeping pipeline changes were crippling to production and crushing to morale. ILM continues to make poor decisions and rewarding failure is just the begininning of the problem. Smarten up – this is not a good decision.

    • tazzman says:

      I doubt one person drove you from ILM after 15 years. Sometimes it’s just best to move on. But leave with some class and dignity by not trashing a guy on a message board.

  2. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be
    actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for
    me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will
    try to get the hang of it!

  3. sona says:

    They have all ready found an office in London…….recruitment for Stars Wars to commence.

  4. Tom Atkin says:

    Congrats to John…well deserved. John has always been an outstanding creative visual effects supervisor, technology guru…and, really nice person. ILM could not choose more wisely.

More Digital News from Variety

Loading