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War of the Worlds - We want to scare the audience, give them a great ride and wow them with this



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q: Dakota Fanning is proving to be a very gifted young actor. What was it like to work with her?
A:
Dakota is enormously talented. She is innately talented and very bright and fun to be with, too. And Justin (Chatwin who plays Robbie Ferrier), very talented. I thought the movie was beautifully cast.

Q; You’ve become known for doing a lot of your own stunt work. What did you do on this movie?
A:
A little running and window smashing and cars flying at me and running away! You know, it was great working with Vic (Armstrong, second unit director), I’ve worked with him before. Oh and the swimming. Dakota, Justin and I in the water - that was fun.
We had to jump off this huge platform into the water and Dakota’s looking at me and I said ‘you can do this..’ It’s about an eight foot jump and she looked at me and it’s like ‘OK..’ and I was like ‘come on you can trust me..’
I had to take her to the bottom of the pool and then we had to come up. I had weights to hold on to and she had to hold on to my neck.
We went all the way down and then we had to take our masks off. I think we were about 14 foot deep, something like that. And I was looking at her saying ‘are you OK?” and she was like ‘yeah, yeah..’’
So she would hang on to me and I would have these weights and we would drop down 14 feet, fast. And then I’d have to swim up in all my gear. And you know the three of us were just laughing hysterically, looking at each other under the water. But with the first take it actually took me a bit longer to kick to the top and you know, we’re holding our breath. And I’m more worried about Dakota and I’m starting to run out of breath. And afterwards I said ‘look, if there’s anything you don’t feel comfortable with here, you have to tell me..’ And you know she just said ‘maybe you could go a little faster, Tom…’ And I said ‘I’ll do some things to fix it.’ And we did.

Q: And the car going through the window?
A:
That was fun, you know. Those kind of things are really cool and gets your adrenaline going. But what I’m really proud of in this story is the relationships in the movie – those moments are really wonderful. Steven and I were talking about it and it’s the littlest, biggest film we’ve made. I mean it’s the biggest film I’ve ever been part of and I’m talking about in scale, not in (terms of) finance. But it’s just huge and it has everything I want to see in a Spielberg movie.
I remember going to see Jaws. We were going on a picnic but I convinced my family that we should see Jaws and we waited in line for hours because it was sold out.
And when I saw it there were moments when I jumped out into the aisle! I literally went over about five people and I was standing in the aisle. And I want that in a Spielberg film, I want that in a movie.
And as an actor, you know, it’s fun to be part of that. To see him create on that level, backed up by this amazing team of his, is just fantastic.

Q: The cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski, is obviously a crucial part of that team…
A:
Janusz is a brilliant cinematographer. It’s the third picture I’ve made with him, Steven has made nine with him. He’s a true character and a true artist. Really, a brilliant guy.

Q: You filmed on the East coast during some very cold weather. What was that like?
A:
Yes, it was cold when we were shooting some of the big crowd scenes. And a lot of those people hadn’t made a lot of movies so they were very excited about the process and being on a movie set.
And it was incredibly cold and you can see the breath of these people who were there every night doing this. But I don’t like being back in my trailer. I’d rather be on the set and working. And it’s nice when you have a lot of people because you can have a chat.
I like to hear about people’s lives and what they are doing. So was it challenging? Do I sleep much? Yes, it was challenging. And no I don’t sleep much when I’m making a film. I just feel that I’m lucky, lucky to be making a movie and working with the people that I’m working with and Steven Spielberg, the greatest storyteller in the history of film.
I’m privileged that he is my friend and that I’m able to have this opportunity to work with him. So I didn’t want to sleep. I wanted to get there early.

Q: You were talking about Jaws and the scenes that made you and millions of us jump. What can we expect from the aliens in War of the Worlds?
A:
Those aliens have gone rogue, you know. They’ve gone rogue alien. It’s E.T. man, but he’s gone bad. You do not want to run into these aliens! They’re malevolent.

Q: So we can expect plenty of scares?
A:
The tension and the fear factor has to be there in the structure. And you have to care about the characters. And then it’s the framing, the composition, the staging and the camera moves. And there’s a point where if you are there too long you lose tension, if you are not there long enough you don’t have the tension.
And Steven just gets inside it. He is just communicating what frightens him. This is going to be a scary movie – this is a scary, intense film. And emotional. It’s an emotional epic..

Q: How was working with Tim Robbins?
A:
It was good to work with Tim. He’s a great actor, a great artist – a tremendous director and a writer, too, a very unique filmmaker.

Q: What do you hope that the audience will get from War of the Worlds?
A:
It would be nice if they walked out and wanted to hug their children or maybe they want to take time with their family a little more. But there are many different layers to the film and I hate to tell people what I want them to feel. I don’t want someone to tell me what I should feel. I like to experience it for myself.
When I was making this film I really thought about what are the common enemies of mankind instead of man on man. So somewhere there is that thought of us wanting to unite together, to battle those common enemies. And of course we want to scare the audience, give them a great ride and wow them with this. And we’re in the hands of a master storyteller here; Steven Spielberg. As a Spielberg fan, I really wanted him to make this movie..

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