The Full Wiki

I Am Legend (film): Map

  
  

Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:



I Am Legend is a 2007 science fiction-disaster film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name, following 1964's The Last Man on Earth and 1971's The Omega Man.Before I Am Legend's release in cinemas in 2007, the direct-to-DVD I Am Omega was released by The Asylum to cash-in on the adaptation's potential success. Smith plays virologist Robert Neville, who is immune to a vicious man-made virus originally created to cure cancer. He works to create a remedy while living in Manhattan in 2012, a city inhabited by animalistic victims of the virus. The film's plot is an example of a zombie apocalypse story, except that the zombies are vampires.

Warner Bros. began developing I Am Legend in 1994, and various actors and directors were attached to the project, though production was delayed due to budgetary concerns related to the script. Production began in 2006 in New York Citymarker, filming mainly on location in the city, including a $5 million scene at the Brooklyn Bridgemarker, the most expensive scene ever filmed in the city at the time. I Am Legend was released on December 14, 2007 in the United States, and opened to the largest ever box office (not counting for inflation) for a non-Christmas film released in the U.S. in December. The film was the seventh highest grossing film of 2007, earning $256 million domestically and $329 million internationally, for a total of $585 million. I Am Legend also received positive reviews, with much praise to Will Smith's performance.

Plot

In September 2012, U.S. Army virologist, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville (Will Smith) is left as the last healthy human in New York Citymarker. Three years earlier Doctor Alice Krippin (Emma Thompson) altered the measles virus to create a cure for cancer with a 100% success rate. However, the virus mutated into a lethal airborne strain that spread worldwide and killed 5.4 billion people (90% of humanity). Of the 600 million survivors, only 12 million people possessed a natural immunity to the virus. The rest degenerated into bald, pale, aggressive beings referred to as "Darkseekers", who killed the remaining immune human population. The "Darkseekers", so called for hiding in buildings and dark places during the day due to a painful intolerance to UV radiation, exhibit increased speed, agility, aggression, and strength, as well as higher pulse, metabolism and respiration rates, and increased body temperature. Despite their primal behavior, the Darkseekers seem to retain some basic problem-solving intelligence, animalistic cunning and the capacity to organize themselves.

Neville, who lost his wife Zoe (Salli Richardson) and daughter Marley (Willow Smith) in a helicopter accident during the chaotic evacuation of Manhattanmarker in December 2009, has a daily routine that includes experimentation on captive infected rats to find a cure for the virus and trips through an empty Manhattanmarker to collect supplies from abandoned homes and hunting deer that moved into the city. He also waits each day for a response to his continuous recorded AM radio broadcasts, which instruct any uninfected survivors to meet him at noon at the South Street Seaportmarker. Neville's isolation is broken only by the companionship of his German Shepherd dog Samantha ("Sam"), interaction with mannequins he has set up as patrons of a video store, and recordings of old television broadcasts.

When one of his experiments on rats shows a promising treatment, Neville sets a snare trap and captures an infected woman; as he catches her an enraged male Darkseeker, the Alpha Male of the pack, locks eyes with him and snarls. Back in his laboratory, located in the basement of his heavily fortified Washington Square Parkmarker home, Neville attempts to treat the infected woman without success. Later, after finding one of his mannequins in front of Grand Central Terminalmarker, he is caught in a trap and passes out. When Neville finally regains consciousness and manages to get free, it is dusk and he is attacked by a pack of infected dogs set on him by the Alpha Male. Although Neville and Sam manage to kill the dogs, one of the infected dogs bites Sam. Neville takes the wounded Sam back to his lab and attempts to cure her, but she begins to exhibit symptoms and tries to attack Neville, so he is forced to strangle her to death.

The following night, overcome by grief and rage after burying Sam, Neville attacks a group of the infected. Despite killing a large number of Darkseekers, the infected overwhelm Neville and nearly kill him but he is rescued by a pair of immune survivors, Anna (Alice Braga) and a young boy named Ethan (Charlie Tahan), who have heard his AM broadcasts.

Anna and Ethan take the injured Neville back to his home, where Anna explains that they are making their way to a putative survivors' camp in Bethel, Vermontmarker. When Anna claims that their meeting wasn't coincidence but part of God's plan, Neville furiously rants that, given the devastation incurred by the Krippin virus, there can be no God.

Suddenly, the Alpha Male leads a group of infected in an attack on the house, having followed Anna and Neville back the night before. The Darkseekers force Neville, Anna, and Ethan to retreat into the basement laboratory. They seal themselves in a room with the infected woman, where they discover that Neville's treatment is working: the subject has reverted to a more human form. Unfortunately the infected break into the basement, where the Alpha Male begins to crack and break through the acrylic glass separating them by ramming it. The cracks come to resemble the wings of a butterfly, at which point Neville remembers his daughter mentioning a butterfly the night she died. He notices a butterfly tattoo on Anna's neck and takes a sample of the infected female's blood and gives a vial of it to Anna, saying "The cure is in her blood... I think this is why you are here." Neville shuts Anna and Ethan into an old coal chute and shuts them inside, and he sacrifices his life for Anna and Ethan, using an M67 hand grenade to kill himself and the attacking infected.

Anna and Ethan escape to Vermont and locate the survivors' colony, where Anna hands over the cure. Before the credits roll Anna claims that the survivors are Neville's legacy, as Neville became a legend for finding a cure.

Alternate ending

The tone of the film's ending was altered before the film's release, especially the stand-off between Neville and the infected in his laboratory. Visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs recounts the original ending starting with the stand-off: "At that point, Neville's - and the audience's - assumptions about the nature of these creatures are shown to be incorrect. We see that they have actually retained some of their humanity. There is a very important moment between the Alpha Male and Neville. The Alpha Male slapped his hand on the glass and smeared it revealing a butterfly shaped imprint." Neville realizes that the Alpha Male is identifying the infected woman he was experimenting on by a butterfly tattoo, and that the Alpha Male wants her back. Demonstrating that he will cease fighting and return her, Neville is allowed to approach them, with the Alpha Male ordering the infected not to touch him. Neville brings the Alpha Female back to consciousness, still infected due to him having removed the cure, and the Alpha Male embraces her; Travis Schaub stated, "Then, when Neville finally turns the Alpha Female over to the Alpha Male, there is this little love moment between the two of them." Neville and the Alpha Male then exchange stares; Neville apologizes to them, which the Alpha Male acknowledges before the infected leave. He then looks at the photos of the infected he has experimented on and killed, and he realizes that he is the monster of their legends: the infected think of him as someone who hunts down and kills their people. The original final shot follows Neville, Anna, and Ethan as they cross the remnants of the George Washington Bridge in the hope of finding other survivors, accompanied by a recording from Anna telling possible survivors that there is hope, and Neville knows the compounds of the cure, meaning he can recreate it and help humanity survive and rebuild, thus establishing his legend.

Cast



Production

Development

The late 1990s brought a reemergence of the science fiction horror genre. In 1995, Warner Bros. began developing the film project, having owned the rights to Richard Matheson's 1954 novel I Am Legend since 1970 and The Omega Man. Mark Protosevich was hired to write the script after the studio was impressed with his spec script of The Cell. Protosevich's first draft took place in the year 2000 in San Francisco, Californiamarker, and contained many similarities with the finished film, though the darkseekers (Called 'Hemocytes') were civilized to the point of the creatures in The Omega Man and Anna was a lone morphine addict; as well as the fact that there was a Hemocyte character named Christopher who joined forces with Neville. Warner Bros. immediately put the film on fast track, attaching Neal H. Moritz as producer.

Actors Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Mel Gibson had been considered to star in the film, using a script by Protosevich and with Ridley Scott as director; however, by June 1997 the studio's preference was for actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and in July, Scott and Schwarzenegger finalized negotiations, with production slated to begin the coming September, using Houstonmarker as a stand-in for the film's setting of Los Angelesmarker. Scott had Protosevich replaced by a screenwriter of his own choosing, John Logan, with whom he spent months of intensive work on a number of different drafts. The Scott/Logan version of I Am Legend was a bold, artistic mash of scifi action and psychological thriller, without dialogue in the first hour and with a sombre ending. The creatures in Logan's Legend were similar to the darkseekers of the finished film in their animalistic, barbarian nature. The studio, fearing its lack of commercial appeal and merchandising potential, began to worry about the liberties they had given Scott - then on a negative streak of box office disappointments - and urged the production team to reconsider the lack of action in the screenplay. After an "esoteric" draft by writer Neal Jimenez, Warner Bros. reassigned Protosevich to the project, reluctantly working with Scott again.

In December 1997, the project was called into question when the projected budget escalated to $108 million due to media and shareholder scrutiny of the studio in financing a big-budget film. Scott rewrote the script in an attempt to reduce the film's budget by $20 million, but in March 1998, the studio canceled the project due to continued budgetary concerns, and quite possibly to the box office disappointment of Scott's last three films, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, White Squall and G.I. Jane. Likewise, Schwarzenegger's recent films at the time (Eraser and Warner Bros. own Batman & Robin) underperformed, and the studio's latest experiences with big budget sci-fi movies Sphere and The Postman were negative as well. In August 1998, director Rob Bowman was attached to the project, with Protosevich hired to write a third all new draft, far more action-oriented than his previous versions, but the director (who reportedly wished for Nicolas Cage to play the lead) moved on to direct Reign of Fire and the project did not get off the ground.

In March 2002, Schwarzenegger became the producer of I Am Legend, commencing negotiations with Michael Bay to direct and Will Smith to star in the film. Bay and Smith were attracted to the project based on a redraft that would reduce its budget. However, the project was shelved due to Warner Bros. president, Alan F. Horn's dislike of the script. In 2004, Akiva Goldsman was asked by head of production Jeff Robinov to produce the film. In September 2005, director Francis Lawrence signed on to helm the project, with production slated to begin in 2006. Guillermo del Toro was originally approached to direct by Smith but turned it down in order to direct Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Lawrence, whose film Constantine was produced by Goldsman, was fascinated by empty urban environments. He said, "Something's always really excited me about that... to have experienced that much loss, to be without people or any kind of social interaction for that long."

Goldsman took on the project as he admired the second I Am Legend film adaptation, The Omega Man. A rewrite was done to distance the project from the other zombie films inspired by the novel, as well as from the recently released 28 Days Later. A forty-page scene-by-scene outline of the film was developed by May 2006. When delays occurred on Will Smith's film Hancock, which was scheduled for 2007, it was proposed to switch the actor's films. This meant filming would have to begin in sixteen weeks: production was green lit, using Goldsman's script and the outline. Elements from Protosevich's script were introduced, while the crew consulted with experts on infectious diseases and solitary confinement. Rewrites continued throughout filming, because of Smith's improvisational skills and Lawrence's preference to keep various scenes silent. The director had watched Jane Campion’s film The Piano with a low volume so as to not disturb his newborn son, and realized that silence could be very effective cinema.

Casting

Will Smith signed on to play Robert Neville in April 2006. He said he took on I Am Legend because he felt it could be like "Gladiator [or] Forrest Gump—these are movies with wonderful, audience-pleasing elements but also uncompromised artistic value. [This] always felt like it had those possibilities to me." The actor found Neville to be his toughest acting challenge since portraying Muhammad Ali in Ali (2001). He said that "when you're on your own, it is kind of hard to find conflict." The film's dark tone and exploration of whether Neville has gone insane during his isolation meant Smith had to restrain himself from falling into a humorous routine during takes. To prepare for his role, Smith visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Georgiamarker. He also met with a person who had been in solitary confinement and a former prisoner of war. Smith compared Neville to Job, who lost his children, livelihood and health. Like the Book of Job, I Am Legend studies the questions, "Can he find a reason to continue? Can he find the hope or desire to excel and advance in life? Or does the death of everything around him create imminent death for himself?" He also cited an influence in Tom Hanks' performance in Cast Away (2000).

Abbey, a three-year-old German Shepherd dog, played Neville's dog Sam. Another dog, Kona, was used for scenes where Neville plays fetch with his companion, as Abbey refused to perform these scenes. The rest of the supporting cast consists of Salli Richardson as Zoe, Robert's wife, and Alice Braga as a survivor named Anna. Willow Smith, Will Smith's daughter, makes her film debut as Marley, Neville's daughter. Emma Thompson has an uncredited role as Dr. Alice Krippin, who appears on television explaining her vaccine for cancer that mutates into the virus. Singer Mike Patton provided the guttural screams of the infected "hemocytes," andDash Mihok provided the character animation for the "Alpha Male" infected. There were several filler characters with uncredited roles in old news broadcasts and flashbacks, such as the unnamed President's voice, and the cast of The Today Show.

Filming

Akiva Goldsman decided to move the story from Los Angelesmarker to New York Citymarker to take advantage of locations that would more easily show emptiness. Goldsman explained, "L.A. looks empty at three o'clock in the afternoon, [but] New York is never empty . . . it was a much more interesting way of showing the windswept emptiness of the world." Warner Bros. initially rejected this idea because of the logistics, but Francis Lawrence was determined to shoot on location, to give the film a natural feel that would benefit from not shooting on soundstages. Lawrence went to the city with a camcorder, and filmed areas filled with crowds. Then, a special effects test was conducted to remove all those people. The test had a powerful effect on studio executives. Michael Tadross convinced authorities to close busy areas such as the Grand Central Terminalmarker viaduct, several blocks of Fifth Avenuemarker and Washington Square Parkmarker. The film was shot primarily in the anamorphic format, with flashback scenes shot in Super 35.

Filming began on September 23, 2006. The Marcy Avenue Armory in Williamsburg was used for the interior of Neville's home, while Greenwich Villagemarker was used for the exterior. Other locations include the Tribeca section of Lower Manhattan, the aircraft carrier Intrepidmarker, the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Weeds were imported from Floridamarker and were strewn across locations to make the city look like it had overgrown with them. The closure of major streets was controversial with New Yorkers. Will Smith said, "I don't think anyone's going to be able to do that in New York again any time soon. People were not happy. That's the most middle fingers I've ever gotten in my career."

A bridge scene was filmed for six consecutive nights in January on the Brooklyn Bridgemarker to serve as a flashback scene in which New York's citizens evacuate the city. Shooting the scene consumed $5 million of the film's reported $150 million budget, which was likely the most expensive shot in the city to date. The scene, which had to meet requirements from fourteen government agencies, involved 250 crew members and 1,000 extras, including 160 National Guard members. Also present were several Humvees, three Stryker armored vehicles, a cutter, a utility boat, and two Response Boat Small craft, as well as other vehicles including taxis, police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances. Filming concluded on March 31, 2007.

Reshoots were conducted around November 2007. Lawrence noted, "We weren't seeing fully rendered shots until about a month ago. The movie starts to take on a whole other life. It's not until later that you can judge a movie as a whole and go, 'Huh, maybe we should shoot this little piece in the middle, or tweak this a little bit.' It just so happened that our re-shoots revolved around the end of the movie."

Effects

A week into filming, Francis Lawrence felt the infected (referred to as "Dark Seekers" or "hemocytes" in the script), who were being portrayed by actors wearing prosthetics, were not convincing. His decision to use computer-generated imagery (CGI) resulted in an increased budget and extended post-production, although the end results were not always well-received. The concept behind the infected was that their adrenal glands were open all of the time and Lawrence explained, "They needed to have an abandon in their performance that you just can’t get out of people in the middle of the night when they’re barefoot. And their metabolisms are really spiked, so they’re constantly hyperventilating, which you can’t really get actors to do for a long time or they pass out." The actors remained on set to provide motion capture. "The film's producers and sound people wanted the creatures in the movie to sound somewhat human, but not the standard," so Mike Patton, lead singer of Faith No More, was engaged to provide the screams and howls of the infected.

In addition, CGI was used for the lions and deer in the film, and to erase pedestrians in shots of New York. Workers visible in windows, spectators and moving cars in the distance were all removed. In his vision of an empty New York, Lawrence cited John Ford as his influence: "We didn't want to make an apocalyptic movie where the landscape felt apocalyptic. A lot of the movie takes place on a beautiful day. There's something magical about the empty city as opposed to dark and scary that was the ideal that the cast and crew wanted."

Release

I Am Legend was originally slated for a November 21, 2007 release in the United States and Canada, but was delayed to December 14, 2007. The film opened on December 26, 2007 in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Irelandmarker having been originally scheduled for January 4, 2008.

In December 2007, China banned the release of American films in the country, which is believed to have delayed the release of I Am Legend. Will Smith spoke to the chairman of China Film Group about securing a release date, later explaining, "We struggled very, very hard to try to get it to work out, but there are only a certain amount of foreign films that are allowed in."

Marketing

A tie-in comic from DC Comics and Vertigo Comics has been created, I Am Legend: Awakening. The project draws upon collaboration from Bill Sienkiewicz, screenwriter Mark Protosevich, and author Orson Scott Card. The son of the original book's author, Richard Christian Matheson, also collaborated on the project. The project will advance from the comic to an online format in which animated featurettes (created by the team from Broken Saints) will be shown on the official website.

In October 2007, Warner Bros. Pictures in conjunction with the Electric Sheep Company launched the online multiplayer game I Am Legend: Survival in the virtual world Second Life. The game is the largest launched in the virtual world in support of a film release, permitting people to play against each other as the infected or the uninfected across a replicated of New York City. The studio also hired the ad agency Crew Creative to develop a website that would be specifically viewable on the iPhone.

Box office

I Am Legend grossed $77,211,321 on its opening weekend in 3,606 theaters, averaging $21,412 per venue, and placing it at the top of the box office. This set a record for highest grossing opening for a film for the month of December. As of May 11, 2008, the film has grossed $256,393,010 in North America and $584,015,483 worldwide. The film was the 6th highest grossing movie of 2007 in North America, and as of July 2009 stands among the top 50 all-time highest grossing films both domestically and worldwide.

Home release

The film was released on DVD on March 18, 2008 in two editions: a one-disc release, including the movie with four animated comics ("Death As a Gift", "Isolation", "Sacrificing the Few for the Many", and "Shelter"), and other DVD-ROM features; and a two-disc special edition that includes all these extras, an alternative theatrical version of the movie with an alternate ending, and a digital copy of the film. On the high-definition end, the movie has been released on the Blu-ray Disc format and HD DVD format along with the DVD release; with the HD-DVD version being released later on April 8, 2008. Both HD releases include all the features available in the two-disc DVD edition. The film also received a three-disk Ultimate Collector's Edition was released on December 9, 2008.

The film has sold 7.04 million DVDs and earned $126.2 million in revenue, making it the sixth best-selling DVD of 2008. However, Warner Bros was reportedly "a little disappointed" with the film's performance on the DVD market.

Critical reception and awards

Reviews were mostly favorable. The consensus among favorable reviews was that Will Smith's performance overcame questionable special effects. A. O. Scott wrote that Will Smith gave a "graceful and effortless performance" and also noted the "third-act collapse". He felt that the movie "does ponder some pretty deep questions about the collapse and persistence of human civilization". Dana Stevens of Slate wrote that the movie lost its way around the hour mark, noting that "the Infected just aren't that scary." NPR critic Bob Mondello noted the film's subtext concerning global terrorism and that this aspect made the film fit in perfectly with other, more direct cinematic explorations of the subject. Richard Roeper gave the film a positive review on the television program At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper, commending Will Smith as being in "prime form", also saying there are "some amazing sequences" and that there was "a pretty heavy screenplay for an action film." On the negative side, the film has been criticized for diverging from Matheson's novel, especially in its portrayal of a specifically Christian theme. Much of the negative criticism has concerned the film's third act, some critics favoring the alternative ending in the DVD release.

Popular Mechanics published an article on December 14, 2007 addressing some of the scientific issues raised by the film:
  1. the rate of deterioration of urban structures, infrastructure, and survival of fauna and flora
  2. the plausibility of a retrovirus spreading out of control as depicted in the film. (The measles virus depicted in the film, however, is not a retrovirus, but is in fact a part of the Paramyxovirus family.)
  3. the mechanics of the Brooklyn Bridge's destruction
The magazine solicited reactions from Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us, virologist W. Ian Lipkin, M.D., and Michel Bruneau, Ph.D., comparing their predictions with the film's depictions. The article raised the most questions regarding the virus' mutation and the medical results, and pointed out that a suspension bridge like the Brooklyn Bridge would likely completely collapse rather than losing only its middle span. Neville's method of producing power using gasoline-powered generators seemed the most credible: "This part of the tale is possible, if not entirely likely," Popular Mechanics editor Roy Berendsohn says.

I Am Legend earned four nominations for the Visual Effects Society Awards, and was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Outstanding Film and Actor at the Image Awards, and Best Sound at the Satellite Awards. In June 2008, Will Smith won a Saturn Award for Best Actor.Will Smith also won the MTV Movie Awards for Best Male Performance.

Differences from the novel

The movie follows the plot of the novel closely, although there are a few noticeable differences:
  • In the book, Neville is a relatively uneducated white man, as opposed to Will Smith's portrayal of a certified virologist.
    • Neville does not focus on finding a cure in the book-it becomes more of a way to pass time. He dedicates himself to killing vampires living close to him, and staying alive as long as he can.
  • In the movie, Neville needs to get home before dark so that the vampires can't discover where he lives. In the novel, the vampires know where Neville lives, but can't come too close to his house because of his effective use of garlic.
  • There are no pure-human survivors besides Neville. The book describes a group of people infected with the virus, but slowing its effects using a combination of medication and blood.
    • In the novel, Anna is actually a woman named Ruth, a survivor who is infected with the virus. She is sent to spy on Neville by others like herself.
  • Neville never actually owns a dog. In the novel, he finds a stray, and takes weeks to convince it that he is harmless. The dog dies soon after Neville finally brings it into his home.
  • In the book, Neville's wife and daughter die from the virus. Later, his wife comes back in order to drink Neville's blood.


Prequel

Francis Lawrence confirmed that there will be a prequel and that Will Smith will be reprising his role. He stated that this movie would reveal what happens to Neville before the infected take over New York. D. B. Weiss has been recruited to write the script, while Lawrence would direct "if we figure out the story". Smith stated the film would have Neville and his team going from New York Citymarker to Washington, D.C.marker and back again, as they made their last stand. The film will again explore the premise of what it's like to be alone, as Lawrence explained, ". . . the tough thing is, how do we do that again and in a different way?"The film is slated for release in 2011.

Bibliography

  • I Am Legend, Richard Matheson, Tor Books; Reissue edition (October 30, 2007), ISBN 0765318741


References

  1. The DVD/Blu-Ray subtitles refer to the infected as hemocytes – actually a cell type found in an insect's immune system
  2. 2008 Q1 about even with last year: Blu-ray helped offset drops in consumer spending. 2008-04-16, Video Business
  3. Journal of Religion & Film: Film Review: I Am Legend reviewed by Christopher M. Moreman


External links




Embed code:






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message