WonderCon 2014: Into the Storm Wind Tunnels and 747 Twisters

Into the Storm

In 1996, Warner Brothers opened the Summer movie season with Twister, then the landmark disaster movie with groundbreaking visual effects. This summer, WB brings us Into the Storm, a new level of tornado storm chases in August. The stars and filmmakers were at WonderCon in Annaheim to tell us about the new storms coming our way.

"The final sequence where the storm collects into a megastorm," Richard Armitage said. "Thanks to Donnie who's led us into a tunnel, we end up in basically a wind tunnel. That was pretty harrowing."

Director Steven Quale previously directed Final Destination 5 and worked with James Cameron on Avatar's second unit. He wouldn't say if he brought back the flying cow from Twister. "I would say my equivalent of the flying cow is probably when the tornado hits a cargo airport and starts flipping cargo 747 airplanes into the air," Quale said.

Many of the characters in Into the Storm are storm chasers, but some are just family. Armitage plays a schoolteacher and Donnie (Max Deacon)'s father. "I play a middle school teacher,"Armitage said. "He's an English teacher. He's also a PE teacher so I thought that would be quite an interesting addition so that he can shout above the sound of the storm."

Nearly 20 years after Twister, it's not so much that visual effects have advanced, but real footage of tornados have. "For me, Twister was an amazing film," Quale said. "At the time it was state of the art visual effects. It had a great story, had a lot of fun with it. What we did is over the years there've been so much more YouTube videos of real tornado events at high resolution that you can actually see the amazing detail that these tornados, how it forms and what they look like, so we've been able to ground it in reality of what real storms look like. At the same time, the idea of everybody capturing it on video and so forth and have what I call first person point of view, so it doesn't feel like a normal Hollywood movie with camera crane, dolly moves and perfect smooth and it's not a found footage movie with really jerky shaky camera where it's hard to watch. It's sort of a hybrid where it professional cinematographers who are storm chasers videotaping this storm and are able to capture it for you so as an audience member, it feels more real because of the subtle imperfections of the camera. You feel like you're right there with a camera handheld shooting the storm as it's approaching."

Into the Storm storms into theaters August 8.

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