Into the Storm follows a group of townspeople and extreme weather chasers as they encounter one of the most dangerous storms in U.S. history. When group of powerful tornados pummel the town, Gary Morris (Richard Armitage), father and vice-principal of the local high school must race through deteriorating conditions to find his lost son, Donnie (Max Deacon).
Along for that mad dash rescue mission is Gary’s youngest son, Trey, who is played by iCarly star Nathan Kress. We sat down for the Into the Storm junket to talk to Kress about going from Disney Channel hijinks to big disaster movies, and how the found-footage format of the film affected his process while shooting.
WARNING: There are some MILD SPOILERS for the plot of the films – but we’ll warn you when those are coming.
What kind of guy is Trey?
NK: He is the youngest member of the Fuller family. Gary is the dad and Donnie is the older brother. He’s kind of the rebel, black sheep of the group. He doesn’t take anything very seriously. He’s very immature and he always gives his brother a hard time. But his relationship with his dad is very strained. As the movie progresses, the relationship between Trey and his father changes quite a bit because they’re forced to go on this journey together through this disaster. Through that process their relationship is strengthened and by the end of the movie, Trey has grown up quite a bit. For Trey, it’s his coming of age story.
Are you holding a camera?
NK: Yes, it’s hilarious because I’ve been doing iCarly on Nickledeon for five years where I was that camera guy! So I was able to use that experience quite a lot. Although it’s a bit different because there were times on the show where I was told to hold the camera lower so it doesn’t block my face when I’m on camera, but with this film, they realize that that doesn’t look real so I’ve had to relearn how to hold it.
Are they using some of the footage you’re shooting?
NK: The producer came up to me and some of the other cast members and said: “I spoke to the editor and some of you have some really good footage which I’m going to put in the movie. Nathan, however not so much.” So much of what I’m doing is running from place to place and I don’t have a steadycam, so all of my footage is very jumpy.
How do you justify continuing to shoot when you’re searching for a long lost brother?
NK: For one, the movie is set up as we’re doing a time capsule for the town so I’m documenting this event which is going to undoubtedly change the entire the course of everybody’s lives in Silverton. And one of the stormchasers recruits me and he offers to pay me which is great for young Trey, but there are a lot of times during the emotional stuff where I’m looking for my brother that I don’t have a camera.
WARNING: Mild Spoilers Follow!
Do you get to be in the tank?
NK: I do have the cool job in this movie because I’m up in the turret and we finished a lot of those scenes yesterday with the green screen. It was really cool, except for the fact that the Titus actually leaks a lot so we get very wet even though we’re inside and it’s supposed to be this impenetrable vehicle which is kind of hilarious. There was a bunch of issues with the Titus in the beginning when the doors were closed too hard, the windows would break and there were mechanical issues and the leaking was really bad so our producer had someone from props paint: “Bruce the Shark” on the back, because in the making of Jaws, the shark never worked. So it’s our little inside joke. You’re see it on the back bumper.
So the Titus guys recruit your character to shoot for them?
NK: I kind of become Matt’s character’s protégé a little bit.
Can you talk about interacting with the tornado which you can’t see on set?
NK: That takes a whole lot of imagination especially the stuff we were doing over the past few days with the green screen Titus work. They would just put tennis balls on poles and say: “Here’s your eyeline. Imagine it’s a force of destruction tearing everything apart in front of you. And one time they added… and cars are going flying.” So it definitely takes a bit more work.
What has been the biggest challenge for you on this shoot?
NK: By far the rain. The rain has made every scene incredibly difficult. There was one scene where there is a heartfelt moment between Trey and his father but it was also pouring down. When we were shooting for some reason I couldn’t keep my eyes open and by the end I literally had my eyes closed. Later on we found out to keep my hair looking wet, they make up people had put in leave-in condition and so as soon as it started raining it was just washing down into my eyes. So look out for that scene in the movie where my eyes are closed the whole time!
Into the Storm arrives in U.S. theaters on August 8th, 2014.