Magical realism, 1980s video games, and haute couture combine in This Must Be the Only Fantasy, a new film collaboration between fashion house Rodarte and filmmaker Todd Cole, produced by The Creators Project. The film stars Elijah Wood and is a VFX-driven ode to fantasy role-playing games with original music by Beach House.
"You live your life in the everyday but then in this other world—in your mind, your imagination—you get to transform into the hero, and this is the duality that we wanted to capture." Kate Mulleavy says about working in the fantasy genre.
To bring this fantastical world to life Rodarte and Cole recruited the skills of VFX studio a52, who used CGI to turn the contemporary setting of Los Angeles into a magical realm where characters vanish and reappear, a unicorn carries our heroine—played by 18 year old newcomer Sidney Williams—from place to place, faces unnaturally contort into evil glares, and magical particles are conjured from thin air. The VFX also make a stylistic nod to 80s gaming, like the way the fairy—supermodel Guinevere van Seenus—is a glitchy projection or Elijah Wood's throne is stacked with gaming joysticks, consoles, wires, and bulky hardware.
Along with the VFX, the music helps evoke the magical tone that resonates throughout the film and gives the audience an emotional connection too. "We envisioned working with Beach House from the very inception as we knew that they would create an ethereal and moving score." notes Laura Mulleavy.
While this film is influenced by Medieval and fantasy role playing games—inspired by Rodarte's Spring Summer 2013 collection which explored the same themes—the trio's previous collaborations have explored other genres. Aanteni (2010) was a horror movie set at SpaceX, and The Curve of Forgotten Things (2011) was a dreamy homage to 1970s northern California and its cinematic representations.
The Red Rider
Elijah Wood and Sidney Williams
The characters in This Must Be the Only Fantasy are mostly teenage kids, just hanging out in the suburbs of LA, killing time, chatting inanities, looking for kicks. It just so happens that the magic from their games has spilled out into the physical world. So the film becomes a contemporary take on the fantasy genre, while also merging art, action, music, and fashion.