Exclusive Interview with ‘Into the Storm’ Director Steven Quale

Director Steven Quale Into the Storm Interview
A scene from New Line Cinema’s and Village Roadshow Pictures’ thriller “INTO THE STORM,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Photo © 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - - U.S., Canada, Bahamas & Bermuda and © 2014 Village Roadshow Films (BVI) Limited - - All Other Territories. All Rights Reserved.)

By Rebecca Murray and Melissa Molina

It’s been a while since we’ve had a big-budget disaster movie in theaters that didn’t come from director Roland Emmerich (2012, The Day After Tomorrow), but that will change with the arrival on August 8, 2014 of Warner Bros Pictures’ Into the Storm. Steven Quale (Final Destination 5) helms the upcoming action film about a town that’s ravaged by multiple tornadoes, and at the 2014 WonderCon he talked about past disaster films, what sets this one apart, and the sound design for Into the Storm.

Director Steven Quale Interview

Were you a fan of disaster films and what does it take to create a memorable one?

Steven Quale: “I remember as a kid growing up and seeing a number of disaster movies including The Towering Inferno, it was like one of the first movie experiences I ever remember, and the good old Irwin Allen and all those disaster movies and Roland Emmerich and all these people, and what I always found was the good ones always had good characters and people you could relate to. And that’s what I like about our movie is that it has the spectacle, it has the enormous tornadoes and unbelievable scenes, but it also has a compelling story of Richard Armitage being a father who’s trying to find his son who’s lost in the middle of a tornado. We have Sarah Wayne Callies who’s playing a stormchaser meteorologist. Lots of great people that breathe life into the movie and make it real, and then they react to these horrific events.”

Bill Paxton was also here talking about his upcoming film. Did you get a chance to talk to him about tornado movies?

Steven Quale: “I’ve known Bill Paxton for a number of years, going back with Jim Cameron from way back. In fact, when we were doing the audio ADR recording for Into the Storm he was doing the Edge of Tomorrow ADR as well, and we were talking as well. Bill’s a great guy, very fun, and you’ve got to give props to Twister because they set the bar for amazing effects, amazing tornado movie back in its day. Since then, there’s been so much more video of real tornadoes that we’ve been able to see the detail of just how amazing these tornadoes are and what they can do, and how horrific and powerful they are, that was my guide to make it as real as possible.”

Can you talk about the sound design for Into the Storm?

Steven Quale: “Sound plays an important part, too, and what I really strive there is Per Hallberg, the supervising sound editor who’s an amazing Oscar-winning sound designer who’s done Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, the most recent Bond Film, he brought a realism to the film. My mandate was we had to make the sounds feel real. We don’t want animal lion roars augmenting it, we just had to make it sound as real as possible. So I urge everybody to see it in the best, biggest possible theater they can.”

And I understand you shot in Michigan and that the extras were even singing on the set?

Steven Quale: “We shot in Michigan and Michigan was great. There are a lot of fantastic people there that aren’t jaded like in Los Angeles where they’re like, ‘Get away from my neighborhood. I don’t want you to film here because it’s inconvenient.’ They were playing high school students and they were really into it and full of enjoy. It was just a joy to work with them. Everybody – all the supporting characters, you know there are no small parts in a movie but the local casting in Michigan, they all stepped up and did an amazing job. It was a lot of fun and interesting to work with.”

What sets this disaster movie apart from past disaster films?

Steven Quale: “I think what differentiates it for me is I tried to ground it in reality. We have the spectacle, we have the enormous, crazy things that all these other films have, but at the same time we’re trying to make it feel real with a family stuck in the middle of this trying to survive in a community that in the end rises to overcome the horrible circumstance of it and kind of gets stronger because of the disaster.”

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