Steven Quale talks about directing tornado action film “Into the Storm”

intothestormdirector2Steven Quale is best known for directing “Final Destination 5”. He was also second unit director with James Cameron on “Avatar” and “Titanic”. His latest film is the tornado action film “Into the Storm”. Steven Quale took out some time to chat about the film and the challenges he faced.

What interested you in this story and joining as Director?
Steven Quale: What attracted me to “Into the Storm” is being able to take the audience right into the center of a tornado. To experience what it is like to see and hear the unimaginable power that a tornado can unleash. I also wanted to explore how different people react to such an extreme event.

What is it like directing actors with the added distraction of extreme weather elements?
SQ: It was a real challenge to get a performance with all the distracting noises of the wind machines and rain towers. The loud noise of the equipment made communication very difficult and I had to rely on hand signals. One advantage to all the wind and rain is that it gave the actors something real to play against when shooting with green screens.

How is “Into the Storm” different from previous tornado movies?
SQ: “Into the Storm” benefits from the advances in visual effects over the years so the tornados look much more realistic. It also differs from other tornado movies in that we are not just following storm-chasers – we have a diverse group of unrelated people who are thrust together during the adversity of the storm and we get to experience how each of the different people react under the pressure of the storm.

You have an extensive background in visual effects. Tell us about what went into making this film look and feel intostormreal.
SQ: The most important thing to make this film look real was weeks and weeks of extensive research. I studied every single video of any severe weather and tornado footage I could find. Every major type of tornado was based on actual footage of real tornados. In addition to the visuals I insisted on having the sound feel as real as possible and that is where academy award winning sound supervisor Par Hallberg shined with his amazing soundscape. You really feel like you are in a tornado with the rumbling sound.

Did the film require practical effects in addition to visual effects?
SQ: The films visual effects work so effective because they are a mix of practical physical effects such as wind machines and rain towers combined with the digital tornados and debris. For the last half of the film, almost every shot required rain and wind machines. We dropped a real truck in close proximity with Richard Armitage.

What special features can we expect to see on the Blu-ray / DVD?
SQ: The Blu-ray/DVD for “Into the Storm” will have several behind the scenes features showing how we were able to realistically recreate the weather conditions of a tornado. It also has a segment where world famous storm chaser Reed Timmer explains all of the types of tornados in or film and how they compare to the real ones that he has chased.

 

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