WonderCon: INTO THE STORM Panel Recap Featuring Director Steven Quale, Richard Armitage, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter and Max Deacon

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“What would it actually be like if you were in the eye of a tornado.”  At WonderCon 2014, Warner Brothers presented select footage from their upcoming found footage release Into the Storm.  You’ve probably seen a teaser for the film already – and if not, see it here.  The under-the-radar film concerns a group of extreme storm chasers who document the ‘storm-of-the-century’ when it hits a small town.  Basically it’s ‘Twister On Steroids’. Filmmaker Steven Quale (Final Destination 5) and stars Richard Armitage (The Hobbit trilogy), Arlen Escarpeta (Friday the 13th), Jeremy Sumpter (Peter Pan) & Max Deacon (I, Anna) were on hand to discuss the intense shoot, the found footage genre and ol’ Twister (aside: isn’t it odd how that Jan De Bont flick has become somewhat of a cult classic in recent years).  For a full recap of the footage shown and bullet point highlights of the Q&A, hit the jump.

into-the-storm-sarah-wayne-calliesThe trailer is pretty much tornado porn.  See a tornado destroy a house, a car, a school, a farm, an airplane, even more airplanes…  Watch a tornado as it catches fire, as it sucks people straight up into the air, through ventilation systems and passenger car doors.  There was some story here about a crew of documentary filmmakers trying to capture the freak storm… but wait – did I mention that a tornado was on fire!  At that point, the base impulse for complete and total destruction kicked in.  Who cares about these made-up characters?  More tornadoes, please.

After the footage screened, the filmmakers and cast came on stage for a brief Q&A. Highlights to which are below.

  • Director Steven Quale on the ironic difficulty of finding a location to shoot at: “Ironically we were shooting in Detroit. There were houses that were only half built – so we asked if we could shoot in them. And the real estate agent said ‘Wait a minute — the price for these homes will plummet if people think a storm struck them.’”
  • Richard Armitage on working with practical effects on set: One of the most exciting parts of filming [Into the Storm] was on set most of things we were doing were practical. A sixteen wheeler crashes to the ground [in one scene] and the crew drew a line and said don’t cross it… So there’s a catharsis between the actors and characters. We really felt for what they were going through [because we were] going through it ourselves as well.”
  • Quale on balancing the practical effects with the digital ones: “We tried to make whatever is around the actor practical and then add the digital effects to it.” So for instance: in the film — the extreme winds, heavy rains, and large debris crashing around the cast are real. Only the tornadoes themselves are added digitally afterwards.
  • into-the-storm-richard-armitageArmitage on the weird parallels between the film and real life: “The day we were shooting the sequence [with the tornado on fire] I said ‘Come on, Steven. This is ridiculous.’… And then the next day on YouTube there was a fire tornado in Australia.”  Seeing that footage, Armitage stated, made him realize just how exciting and real this film was going to be.
  • Quale on the James Cameron touch: “I showed [Into the Storm] to Jim Cameron in a near complete state and he was almost universally positive. So that really felt good. He had one suggestion to add one particular prop to a scene and to utilize it … It was a real full circle experience. Because when Jim showed me Titanic, he incorporated one suggestion I had for him.  I suggested that Rose drop the diamond alone instead of with Bill Paxton…”

In the Storm invades theaters August 8th.  Click here for all our WonderCon coverage.




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