Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY tells the story of Juliet Ashton (Lily James), a free-spirited writer living in post-war London.
Struggling to find inspiration for her writing after the harsh experiences of the war and poised to accept a proposal from a dashing American GI, she receives an unexpected letter from a Guernsey farmer and impulsively leaves for the island, where she hopes to write about a curiously named book club formed under the German occupation in WW2 described in his letter.
Union worked very closely with Director Mike Newell, Cinematographer Zac Nicholson and Production Designer James Merifield to bring this well loved story to the screen.
The film opens on a starry vista which pans down to a group of friends out after curfew on Nazi occupied Guernsey. Spotted by a group of German soldiers wielding machine guns, the group hastily suggest they are returning home from a meeting of their book club. She fumbles around for a name, coming up with the unlikely sounding Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
This beautiful scene was shot day for night and augmented with a beautiful starry sky and a camera move that slowly reveals the friends’ silhouettes.
Most of the VFX work involved the creation of London and Guernsey environments during and post WW2.
The team used digital matte painting, set extension and modern day clean up techniques to recreate the war torn streets of 1946 London. Animated CG period vehicles, crowd and atmospheric dust and dirt add to the realism to Juliet’s world.
Union were also tasked with selling the North Devon filming locations as 1940s Guernsey. This involved dirtying up white buildings, removing tents and adding extra CG houses.
Flashbacks of the evacuation of women and children from St Peter Port Guernsey in 1940 also required the addition of period CG ships and smaller escape boats as well as harbour walls.
The Nazi military presence was demonstrated through the addition of a docked CG destroyer warship. A Nazi army procession was given scale through the aggregation of multiple crowd plates and a flyover by CG German bomber planes.
Union also did a lot of invisible modern day clean up work.