U.S. Release Date: 8/8/14
Director Steven Quale had to manipulate the weather a tad while filming Into The Storm – his summer disaster movie about a small town hit by a massive tornado.
“We were shooting in Pontiac, Michigan in the middle of the summer with bright sunny conditions,” says Quale. “So I felt that shooting in the sun and adding a tornado into the background just wouldn’t match – it would look a little odd and false.”
So the filmmaker came up with a fast and affective solution involving giant construction cranes and machines capable of providing artificial wind and rain.
“The cranes blocked out the sun, and the machines blew to simulate the look of overcast skies.”
The storm in question is an EF5 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale – a scale which measures the strength of a tornado – the strongest storm possible with winds whipping at more than 200 miles per hour. Anything in its path – trains, planes, automobiles, houses and people – are ripped apart within a matter of milliseconds.
“I grew up in Madison Wisconsin,” says Quale, “so tornado warnings are really nothing new for me. I never saw a twister, but I remember sitting in the basement of my house and watching the television for storm updates. Basically, we had to remain in the basement until they give us the all clear. The uncertainty can be very unnerving.”
With the world now dominated by tablets and smart phones, it is , according to Quale, becoming increasingly difficult to make movies in which people become separated from their loved ones – even if there is a tornado raging outside their front doors.
“Communication does get disrupted during bad storms, but you still don’t want the audience to say ‘Give me a break, how can that happen?’ So we have partial cell reception, or the cell’s batteries go dead. Those are a couple of workarounds, but it is definitely a challenge.”
Quale, who has a background in visual effects and cinematography, made his feature film directorial debut with 2011’s chiller Final Destination’s 5. In the tradition of the previous chapters in New Line Cinema’s hit franchise, the film, which concerned a suspension bridge collapse, tried to teach moviegoers that Death just cannot be cheated.
The filmmaker has always loved the magic of cinema. He recalls a matinee screening of 1974’s The Towering Inferno, which revolved around a massive fire in a San Francisco skyscraper.
“The movie took place at night. People were on rooftops, and this fire was all around. But when the film ended, the doors flew open and it was still daylight outside. That was an eye opener which taught me about the power of film – I had really believed it was night time. So that experience helped me realise that I wanted to contribute to the illusion.”
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Steve Quale
Screenwriter: John Swetnam
Stars: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh, Max Deacon, Nathan Kress and Alycia Debnam Carey
Producer: Todd Garner
Executive Producers: W. Mark McNair, Sean Robins and Jeremy Stein
Co-Producer: John Swetnam
Source: Warner Bros
Image Info: SARAH WAYNE CALLIES as Allison in “INTO THE STORM,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures