New York City couldn’t muster as much as a breeze at the world premiere of New Line Cinema’s cli-fi action thriller “Into the Storm” at the AMC Lincoln Square on Monday night. This was probably good for the attendance, since several of the movie’s stars made it clear they would drop everything and run after a tornado, should one come by.
“It would be a thrill. I’m definitely a chaser,” said Jeremy Sumpter, who plays Jacob, a cameraman in a team of stormchasers pursuing a deadly cyclone in the small town of Littleton to capture footage for a documentary.
Which is exactly what director Steven Quale would do. “I’d be right out there in the thick of things wanting to get the shot,” he told Variety. Shooting the movie was intense and adrenaline provoking, he said. He recalled filming a scene from a sinking platform while water rose to his head.
For Richard Armitage, who plays a high school vice-principal on a quest to save his teenage son, the most challenging moment was diving upside down into a tank of water to free his son. “I’m terrified of water,” he said.
“It was a lot of rain and a lot of wind,” summed up Alycia Debnam Carey of the two and a half months of shooting in Michigan. Wanting to convey realistic reactions, Quale showered the actors with effects and, at one point, had the production team throw balls of ice at them to simulate a hailstorm.
To heighten the authentic feeling, the movie is seen through the lenses of the storm-chasing cameramen and high school students documenting the tornado. The found footage, or “first person narrative,” as Quale called it, “gave a certain immediacy to it — a first hand experience directly from the actors’ point of views.”
For Matt Walsh, who plays what he characterized as “a jerk stormchaser whose life obsession is to shoot a tornado,” the physical challenges set the mood. “When somebody puts a fan on you that’s blowing 100 miles an hour, you feel like you’re in a tornado. It’s exhausting adrenaline-wise,” said the actor.
“There was very little acting required for a lot of those intense scenes,” added Nathan Kress, who plays Armitage’s youngest son, Trey. “We were encountering it first hand, and that kept the energy up. The whole thing was like a roller coaster.”
But kids, don’t try this at home. As real life stormchaser Ken Cole warned: “There are a lot of easier ways to find adrenaline than chasing storms. These tornadoes are extremely dangerous.”
After the screening, guests stormed the Wayfarer for the afterparty.
New Line’s “Into the Storm” opens in theaters on Aug. 8.
(Pictured: Sarah Wayne Callies, Nathan Kress, Richard Armitage, Alycia Debnam Carey and director Steven Quale at the “Into The Storm” premiere)