INTO THE STORM: 35 Things to Know about Steven Quale’s Natural Disaster Film Starring Richard Armitage and Sarah Wayne Callies

     June 30, 2014


While on the Detroit-based set of director Steven Quale’s natural disaster picture Into the Storm, I fully expected to see a lot of green screens standing in for destructive tornadoes.  So imagine my surprise when stars Richard ArmitageSarah Wayne CalliesMatt Walsh, and more braved torrential rain and gale-force winds from on-set practical machines simulating the deadly storms.

Between takes, our group of visiting journalists got a chance to interview the film’s cast and crew about the storm-chasing picture.  I’ve provided links for the interviews after the jump, but first I’d like to share some behind-the-scenes info on the New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow Pictures production.  Also starring Alycia Debnam-CareyArlen EscarpetaMax DeaconNathan KressJeremy SumpterKyle Davis, and Jon ReepInto the Storm opens August 8th.  Be sure to check out the film’s recently released trailer here.  Hit the jump for more from our set visit.  Spoilers follow.

into-the-storm-tornadoHere are our 35 “Things to Know” about Into the Storm:

  • Kyle Davis and Jon Reep play the roles of Donk and Reevis respectively, two amateur stormchasers armed with only a FlipCam, GoPro, and a beat-up pick-up truck.
  • Segments of the film are recorded on all sorts of cameras, from mobile devices, to surveillance video, to hand-held GoPros, to vehicle-mounted cameras, and standard movie cameras.
  • Donk and Reevis are basically Jackass-style YouTube enthusiasts who got into stormchasing as a quick way to gain fame. Their behind-the-scenes stunt footage may end up being Blu-ray/DVD extras.
  • Arlen Escarpeta and Jeremy Sumpter play the tech-smart camera guy Daryl and cameraman Jacob respectively. They’re part of the Titus stormchasing team.
  • Sumpter has dreams of being a DP and directing, while Escarpeta managed to break the eyepiece of one of the Nikon cameras they were using.
  • Escarpeta previously worked with director Steven Quale on Final Destination 5.
  • Matt Walsh plays Pete, the veteran stormchaser and leader of the Titus team. Pete built the Titus based on his ten years of stormchasing experience.
  • The object of Team Titus is to photograph the center of a tornado or their funding will be pulled. Their team doesn’t get along with the amateur stormchasers.
  • Walsh remembers seeing two tornadoes when he was growing up in Chicago.
  • Walsh compares the Titus vehicles in the movie to Bruce the Shark in Jaws due to all of its mechanical problems throughout the production.
  • into-the-storm-sarah-wayne-calliesSarah Wayne Callies plays Allison, a meteorologist who works with the Titus team to predict tornadoes. She’s described as the source of exposition and the balance between scientists and everyday people.
  • Allison has a five-year-old daughter who doesn’t appear in the movie.
  • There’s less of a love story in this film and more of an “intimacy of trust” between Allison and Richard Armitage’s character, Gary.
  • Wayne Callies likes doing stuntwork, and gets a fair amount of wirework to do in this movie.
  • The plot changes from attempting to gather evidence on tornadoes, to helping a town that’s in the path of a devastating outbreak of twisters.
  • There’s some professional tension between Wayne Callies’ and Walsh’s characters.
  • There’s less of a focus on climate change and more of an attempt to gather data about tornadoes for preventative and predictive measures.
  • Wayne Callies was reluctant to take other jobs during The Walking Dead just because the TV show was so exhausting to perform.
  • Nathan Kress plays Trey, the youngest of Gary’s sons and a rebellious black sheep; Donnie (Max Deacon) is his older brother.
  • The movie is a bit of a coming-of-age story for Trey, which sees him forge a stronger relationship with his father. Together, they’re searching for Donnie throughout the film.
  • Kress had to relearn how to actually shoot a camera in the film since his work on iCarly gave him some bad habits.
  • Trey decides to document the storm that’s descending upon his town of Silverton, which is why he has his handheld camcorder with him throughout the film.
  • Kress, Deacon, and Armitage all took a meeting to figure out their family’s backstory, especially concerning the boys’ mother.
  • Kress was disappointed that he didn’t get to do a lot of the wirework, but he does get to ride around in the Titus when the team hires him as a supplemental cameraman.
  • into-the-storm-titusThe team nicknamed the two Titus vehicles (one was four-wheel drive and the other was two-wheel drive) Hepa-Titus A and Hepa-Titus B.
  • There’s an organic way in which each of the character’s stories interact with the others, with the storm being the driving force behind their meeting.
  • The framework of the story involves interviews with the townspeople about the storm in a sort of documentary/time capsule plot device, with the footage of the storm edited together after the fact.
  • Kress was very pleased to land a project that his iCarly fans could watch, but was also geared for older audiences.
  • Kress emulates Shia LaBeouf and his career trajectory.
  • Richard Armitage plays Gary Morris, Vice Principal of Silverton High School, football coach, and father to Trey and Donnie.
  • Though the green screens act as stand-ins for the tornadoes, the sound and power of the wind and rain machines is more than enough to give the actors a practical feeling to work with.
  • There was quite a lot of improvisation on set.
  • The entire film takes place in about half a day.
  • Director Steven Quale’s visual effects experience came in handy when determining the look of each of the different camera styles.
  • The approach to the visual effects of the film was to show the tornadoes as real, visceral events and not simply as an action movie.

Be sure to check out our set visit interviews from Into the Storm with the following cast and crew:


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