Watching the film it is hard to believe that these landscapes actually exist. We’re so use to computer-generated images (CGI)…
The irony there is a lot of people think it is CGI. There’s a scene in the film with ships resting on the freeway—that’s sourced from 70-millimeter IMAX film that was shot post-Katrina. We even used a huge mass of billowing clouds that is taken from 9/11. We were trying to tap into the authenticity of the book, really, over and above everything, because even though it’s about the future, it’s everything from our past and things we’re currently experiencing.
On that: What did the actors have to go through during production? Did they consult with survival experts?
They did, but I have to say the performances really came out of the environment we shot in. It was almost like enforced method acting. We had to shoot in the winter because there’s no sun, no life, and the cold was ferocious. It was stressful, and a real survival situation. Both Kodi and Viggo had to be very thin for their roles, and we had to supervise and watch that very carefully for obvious reasons. They could get hypothermic, so we had heat packs on hand and were constantly throwing heavy coats on the boy after every take.
Having to live with this bleak, desolate world you’ve spent at least three years creating, what has it taught you? Have your priorities changed?
You know, this story is bleak, but hopeful. There’s an incredible spark when we transcend animals and the darker forces in us. It’s what the boy encapsulates: that leap of faith of trust and hope and humanity. Really, at the end of all this, I just want to spend more time with my family and my son.