Set for release on August 8th, "Into the Storm" is a high energy thriller, which follows the lives of ordinary people and tornado chasers who encounter one of the most destructive storms ever seen. On a day when high school seniors have dawned their robes, gathered family and friends, and are looking to the future, a tornado forms, forcing graduates, attendees, and townsfolk to take shelter. At the same time, atmospheric scientists (a.k.a. storm chasers) race to document and study the development and scope of what quickly becomes the most destructive storm in recorded history.
While much of the film is presented from an objective view, many shots also feature footage shot from the perspective characters documenting and attempting to survive the storm. Amongst those characters, Nathan Kress (iCarly's Freddie Benson) plays Trey, who is frequently depicted with a camera in hand, aimed at approaching danger or the resultant devastation. While Kress has had years of experience in front of and behind the camera on iCarly, in an interview published by ScreenRant, Kress admits to having to relearn more realistic videography habits. While some of the footage shot by the actors may appear in the final edit, handheld footage is often to shaky to be used in an effects heavy film.
"Yes, it’s hilarious because I’ve been doing iCarly on Nickledeon for five years where I was that camera guy! So I was able to use that experience quite a lot. Although it’s a bit different because there were times on the show where I was told to hold the camera lower so it doesn’t block my face when I’m on camera, but with this film, they realize that that doesn’t look real so I’ve had to relearn how to hold it."
Joining Kress in an action packed race for survival, Sarah Wayne Callies, best known for her roles in Walking Dead (Laurie Grimes) and Prison Break (Dr. Sara Tancredi), plays Allison Stone. Allison is a climatologist who finds herself trying to outpace the forces of nature, while recording its destructive power. In a recent interview with ScreenRant, Callies pointed out why "Into the Storm" appealed to her. Based on her previous experience and role in the "Walking Dead" series, her response makes a lot of sense in both cases.
"What I loved about it is that it’s a story of how in crisis, people who are strangers can become incredibly vital to one another in a space of six hours. And if these two people had not encountered one another in these circumstances, it could take years for them to develop that trust. We learn who we are when we’re in the most extreme circumstances and we spend the rest of the time contemplating who we think we really are."
Featuring a good number of devastating and realistic visual effects shots, "Into the Storm" required the use of CGI and practical special effects. With so many effects shots and a broad spectrum of visual requirements, several well-known studios had a hand in crafting the storm which wreaks havoc and devastates a small mid-western town. Making tornadoes of fire, tearing off roofs, and sucking jumbo jets into the sky, Cinesite, Gentle Giant Studios, Hydraulx, Method Studios, Prime Focus World, Rhythm and Hues, and The Third Floor provided the visual wonders which producers will count on to make "Into the Storm" one of the summer's biggest action thrillers. So, when you sit down to watch and review "Into the Storm," remember that the crew and actors didn't have much to reference, nor more than a ball on a stick to inspire their performances, according to Sarah Wayne Callies (ScreenRant interview).
"You need a big imagination! The challenge is syncing it up with everyone… “How big is your tornado?” And then of course there are takes where Steve goes: “You were all looking in different directions!” Then some poor PA gets the job of standing there with a tennis ball on a stick trying to be invisible."
If we and the film's producers are lucky, the imaginations of their actors and the visual effects studios will pay-off for one and all.