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 Post subject: Spielberg's veil of secrecy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:58 pm 
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Martian War Lord

Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:01 pm
Posts: 1259
Location: UK
June 24, 2005 - "This is not war. This is an extermination!" says Ogilvy (Tim Robbins) to Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) in a tense moment in Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds. These aliens, whatever they are, will hunt you down. You can try and hide, but one way or another they'll get you. Ray Ferrier and his family are among the fortunate few. They're alive and running.

Movie Watched:

War of the Worlds

IGN FilmForce's full review will go up on Tuesday, but until then I will say this about War of the Worlds: There's some unbelievably awesome s*** going on here. Spielberg punches all the dramatic buttons amid massive destruction. This isn't Independence Day wherein the world bands together to fight an alien invasion and you see it unfold from multiple vantage points. Everything that happens in War of the Worlds is from the perspective of Ray Ferrier and his family – and that's what makes it enthralling. Ray's right there looking up at the tripods, the invasion's frontline attack vehicles, as they emerge from the streets. From then on, he and is estranged children (Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin) are on the run as much of the citizenry gets vaporized around them. (Those alien rays turn organic material into dust.) Yes, there is no lack of reaction shots as Spielberg uses his camera to zoom in on astonished faces. He gets real fear in Dakota Fanning's eyes. And like Close Encounters, Spielberg gives you the feeling we're merely a spec in the galactic scheme of things. The ferry boat sequence will make you say "Damn, that's crazy! How the hell did they pull that off?" Those Big Wow moments are fun. One could say that War of the Worlds is Spielberg and his creative team having fun.

Part of what's amazing about Spielberg's movies is he's able to make these things in relative secrecy. Sure, we Internet news-guys do what we can to bring reports you, but even our best efforts meet a roadblock. We can get photos, reports from the set, a look at an early draft of the script, or directly ask the right people on the set "What's going on? What's the story?" and we may not get a straight answer. Even his actors are left guessing what the aliens or ships will look like until they see the final film. With a Spielberg movie, there is a code of silence, and I guess that's what makes the anticipation and the Big Reveal when you see one of his films for the first time all the more impressive.

So let's talk about secrecy, shall we? Spielberg directs something of an epic, and keeps it for the most part secret. Big sets, bit action, and lots of intensity. You'd think everyone would know about the movie while they were filming it. But as things go with Spielberg, secrecy from the start is very much part of the plan.

I asked David Koepp, the screenwriter of War of the Worlds, "How'd you guys keep this under wraps?"

"[Spielberg] wouldn't give [the screenplay] to anybody," says Koepp. "I would email it to him, and he would give a section of the script that was relating to whatever somebody was doing. Like only five people read the whole script.

"I guess he really knows what he wants to be secretive about?"

"Yes, to quite a scary degree," he laughs. "I think deep down it bothered Steven that I was allowed to read the script… just kidding."


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