Aaron Guzikowski is a screenwriter who wrote the scripts for Contraband, the remake of Papillon and Prisoners. He was also the creator and executive producer of the series The Red Road.
You can watch Raised by Wolves on HBO Max now!
How did you get involved with the show?
I wrote the script on spec, after which I teamed up with the folks at Scott Free to produce and that was very exciting, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect Ridley would actually end up directing. But thankfully that’s what happened; he read the script and as soon as he finished it he started drawing storyboards! After that things started moving very quickly towards production and the next thing I knew we were in South Africa shooting.
How did you come up with the idea for the series?
I think the original impetus for the idea was my experience as a parent; I have three young sons and thinking about this world they’re moving out into where the distance between technology and humanity is growing smaller and smaller – and also thinking about this question: if we were ever able to restart civilization and we knew all that happened on earth both good and bad, what might we decide to take with us and what would we try and leave behind. And do we even have a choice or are these cycles that humanity keeps repeating over time hard wired into us?
What were your references and influences when you were writing the series?
Some of my references and inspiration were the films 2001, The Shining, Alien of course, Blade Runner — lots of comic book artists — especially Moebius and the master of masters Philippe Druillet. As well as authors like Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, PKD and T.E.D. Klein.
What was your feeling to work with the legendary director Ridley Scott?
It was a dream to work with Ridley Scott, I’ve been a huge admirer of his films all my life. And it was a great experience – he was extremely collaborative. Beyond directing the first 2 episodes he was heavily involved in the post-production process for the whole season and was incredibly generous with his knowledge.
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with Ridley Scott?
He was also intimately involved in the casting process, all the design elements – VFX – and the level of detail he brought to everything that appears on screen – no matter how small – was really a wonder to behold.
What is a typical day like for you during pre-production and then on the set?
A typical day during pre-production would be lots of meetings with various department heads – sets, costumes, VFX — trying to get everyone on the same page – going over the script and the story boards – so on the day of shooting everyone knows exactly what they need to do.
How did you choose the different actors and more precisely Amanda Collin and Abubakar Salim?
For casting we decided early on that we were going to cast mother first and then all the other characters around her. Finding Mother was not easy – she’s a very difficult character to interpret, but Amanda had an instinctive take on her that blew us all away – as soon as we saw her audition tape it immediately became evident that she was the one. The search for Father was a bit easier – as we saw Abu early on and just fell in just love with him — his voice really transports you – and he has this cool, easy-going nature – but coupled with this quiet strength.
Did you give specific indications to Amanda Collin and Abubakar Salim for their androids characters?
Ridley referenced certain spectrum disorders in human beings as a jumping off point for Amanda and Abu’s performances – as well as animal predator behaviors and mannerisms.
The cast includes several children. What was the biggest challenge with it?
When it came to the child actors we were quite lucky – they were all total pros – and our lead, Winta McGrath was a real superstar.
Can you tell us more about the stunning art direction?
The art direction – Ridley worked closely with the art director and the designers to come up with these wholly new concepts that make up the world of Kepler 22b. The Ark, the Landers, the bottomless pits, the creatures — a great deal of thought and care were put into every design. Ridley is a big proponent of designing things that could actually work in real life; things that have a strong theoretical functionality – so everything feels credible.
Where did you filmed the different parts of the series?
The show was filmed in and around Cape Town South Africa.
What is your best memory about this production?
I think my most vivid memory of this production was when we were shooting the Ark massacre scene that takes place at the end of the pilot and Amanda Collin was walking down this long white corridor and Ridley had these big bags of blood rigged up that exploded on a timer as Amanda moved down the hall — and it was like as if 2001 and The Shining were having a baby before my eyes!