To create cinematic illusions, you need conjurors. In this series of spotlight interviews, we ask movie magicians what makes them tick.
Omar Morsy is head of animation at MPC. His feature credits include Blade Runner 2049, and he lists Wonder Woman and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle as being among his recent personal career highlights.
CINEFEX: How did you get started in the business, Omar?
OMAR MORSY: I’ve always wanted to be an animator. I would watch the old Disney films on VHS and hit play-pause-play-pause to study every frame of any shot I loved. I was animation director at a big videogame company when a friend of mine asked me to join the team at Mokko Studio to animate an alien Doberman on Riddick. After a decade working on AAA games, I wanted a change, so I jumped at the opportunity.
CINEFEX: What aspect of your job makes you grin from ear to ear?
OMAR MORSY: Creating animations that I know will live forever. It’s great to think that 100 years from now, people will still have access to my work.
CINEFEX: What’s the most challenging task you’ve ever faced?
OMAR MORSY: Animating 83 spaceships flying around and attacking each other in outer space. What a mess!
CINEFEX: And what’s the weirdest task?
OMAR MORSY: Animating a rabbit peeing on a folding chair.
CINEFEX: What changes have you observed in your field over the years?
OMAR MORSY: When I first started animating back in 1997, it really was a male-dominated field. Things have changed so much now. The animation team has never been closer to 50/50. MPC is one of the studios that is really trying to address diversity imbalances.
CINEFEX: And what changes would you like to see?
OMAR MORSY: Being able to animate complex, heavy rigs at 24 frames a second without a hiccup.
CINEFEX: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?
OMAR MORSY: Understand realism! Always do your research, look at references, and make sure your work is as credible and as realistic as possible.
CINEFEX: If you were to host a mini-festival of your three favorite effects movies, what would you put on the bill, and why?
OMAR MORSY: Terminator 2: Judgment Day – I remember watching that movie with my dad and hearing him ask, “How did they do that?” specifically when the T-1000 walks through the prison bars. Inception – I was not only blown away by the story, but I had never seen visual effects of buildings curling upwards and above. I thought it was brilliant. Riddick – because we used my dog, Tyson, as reference for the alien dog. My boy is now immortal!
CINEFEX: What’s your favorite movie theater snack?
OMAR MORSY: Beef jerky. But I have to sneak that in – shhh!
CINEFEX: Omar, thanks for your time!