'Star Wars' VFX Studio ILM London Adds 'Harry Potter' VFX Supervisor David Vickery

David Vickery - P 2015
Courtesy of Mark Osborne/Industrial Light & Magic

Lucasfilm’s VFX arm Industrial Light & Magic announced Monday that it has brought in veteran visual effects supervisor David Vickery, who won a BAFTA and earned an Oscar nomination for his work on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Vickery has joined ILM’s London office to supervise effects work as well as serve as acting creative director while studio creative director Ben Morris works on Star Wars Episode VIII as production VFX supervisor.

ILM London also is completing VFX on Star Wars: The Force Awakens for J.J. Abrams, and recently wrapped work on Ridley Scott’s The Martian and Sam Mendes’ Spectre. With The Force Awakens less than two months from release, Vickery said the studio is trying to keep a low profile in the city. “The building is under wraps; there’s frosted glass on the ground floor so people can’t see in, and the only thing that gives it away is the ILM logo engraved on the door as you walk in. Everyone's very sensitive to it and tries not to bring attention to it.”

Vickery is well known in the London VFX community. He had been with London-headquartered VFX house Double Negative since 2002 and left last summer after completing work as production VFX supervisor on Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. His work as a VFX supervisor includes films such as Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 and 2, Fast & Furious 6 and Jupiter Ascending.

ILM, a division of Disney subsidiary Lucasfilm, is headquartered in San Francisco and also maintains bases in Singapore, Vancouver and London. The latter is the newest site, which opened in 2014. In London Vickery will work closely with Sue Lyster, ILM London’s executive in charge, and Morris.

Said ILM's studio head Sam Mercer in a statement: “David has a stellar reputation amongst filmmakers and the visual effects community at large, and I know he is going to be a strong addition to our global creative team and bring a unique perspective to his new role in London.”

In addition to the VFX work, ILM London does its own technology development in areas including virtual sets while also working with ILM's R&D arm in San Francisco.

After just a few short weeks on the job and in his first interview since joining ILM, Vickery told The Hollywood Reporter, “My first day at ILM was one of the most amazing experiences of my life — to walk in and be surrounding by the people creating these movies. I grew up watching films created by ILM; they don't just do visual effects, then help make movies.”

He added: "My first-born son's middle name is Indiana. I need say no more.”

Said Vickery of his move from D-Neg (which merged with Prime Focus World in 2014): "D-Neg treated me incredibly well and produces great work. I think ILM was the only company I would have considered leaving D-Neg for."