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Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Crazies - What will they look like? Eisner spills his guts

Recently a selection of film press people were invited to the Georgia set of The Crazies, a remake of the 1973 original by George Romero.

As I've mentioned previously Breck Eisner (Sahara) directs from a script by Ray Wright (Pulse) and Scott Kosar (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - 2003). A chemical weapon has invaded the water supply of the small rural Iowa town of Ogden Marsh and it is turning infected into raving lunatics. While the original offered a heavy dose of military perspective, the remake presents the military as more of an ominous presence tasked with correcting the problem and also covering it up along the way. Kind of like the way the military were portrayed in the original Half-Life.

Timothy Olyphant stars as Sheriff David Dutton; Radha Mitchell is his pregnant wife, Dr. Judy Dutton; Joe Anderson is Deputy Russell Clank and Danielle Panabaker is the hospital receptionist, Becca.

“In this scene we’re lining up, basically heading to the concentration camp and we don’t know what’s going to happen to us,” says Radha Mitchell. “I don’t think the government officials know exactly how they are going to deal with us either. They are measuring everyone’s temperature to see who’s got an elevated temperature. And the people that appear to be sick are being pushed in one direction and the other people are being pushed in the other direction.”

“[My character] has an elevated temperature because she’s pregnant, but of course they don’t believe that or they don’t care. So she’s going in one direction and he’s going in the other and its hopefully going to be quite dramatic.”

Breck Eisner really likes the filming in the wide open spaces of Georgia “I really wanted the wide open plains,” says Eisner. “What worked nicely here is we could have that same scope. I wanted this idea that our heroes are not trapped in small boxes, but open spaces that go on for miles and miles and miles. There’s literally nowhere to hide.”

To design the Crazies, Eisner and makeup designer Rob Hall went to great lengths to differentiate the look from classic zombies. “The challenge for us was making them look interesting and iconic but not like zombies,” says Eisner. “We didn’t want them to be so far over the top that you don’t believe that it could be a sickness that made this happen.”

To do this, Eisner and Hall referenced actual diseases such as Tetanus, Ebola and Rabies.

“They are really horrific looking,” says Olyphant. “They are strained looking. Their bodies are kind of arched and their veins are popping out and their blood vessels are popping. Their eyes are kind of blood [shot].”

“They're almost like they're the opposite of dead,” adds Hall. “There's too much life in them so they're like bursting at the seams. Their faces are red and there are blood blisters and veins and they're very vascular."

“There are five stages of The Crazies,” Eisner explains. “The first is before anything happens, the fifth is when you’re dead. The second stage is a performance-based craziness which is somebody you know acting differently but not looking differently at all. The next two stages are various levels of physical differences.”

But the director was careful not to turn The Crazies into a military action chase movie. “When I came on the movie, I wanted to get rid of the point of view of the military,” says Eisner. “Any time you [have that], it goes away from horror and it goes to action, Bourne Identity kind of action. To me it was much more interesting being in the point-of-view of our townsfolk and with this oppressive, nameless, faceless force of the military and the bio-containment suits wandering around.”

“[I wanted to] put them through the terror [along with] the other infected Crazies that are roaming the town. It’s horrific and graphic, but I wanted a real quality to it. We’re not shying away from blood.”

The Crazies opens 25th September 2009 and I cannot wait. Sounds like it should be quite an intense film.

Source: Dark Horizons

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