'Into the Storm': Arlen Escarpeta & Jeremy Sumpter on Playing Found Footage Cameramen

Screen Rant interviews actors Arlen Escarpeta and Jeremy Sumpter about playing found footage cameramen in 'Into the Storm.'

Set in a rural community, Silverton, 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.

Along the way Gary encounters professor of Climatology and Meteorology, Allison Stone (Sarah Wayne Callies), and her tornado chasing friends, but as the storm intensifies, becoming one of the biggest weather systems to hit U.S. soil, even the experts are put in grave danger. Capturing all the found footage mayhem is storm-chasing cameramen Daryl and Jacob, played by actors Arlen Escarpeta and Jeremy Sumpter, respectively.

In our on-set chat with Escarpeta and Sumpter, the actors open up about what it was like acting behind and in front of the camera - as well as provide new details on the Into the Storm story and characters.

Check out the trailer for Into the Storm below (followed by the complete interviews with Quale and Garner):

As actors playing camera guys, do you have newfound respect for the crew?

JS: I always watch what they do behind the camera because it’s something I want to do as well as be a DP and direct. I’m always asking questions on set. We get tired sometimes and you look at them and they’re powering through fourteen hours a day.

What are you shooting on?

JS: Arlen is shooting on the Nikon, it’s like a 70.  I have this big like heavy JVC camera. It’s a cool camera.

How does it affect your acting style knowing it’s a found footage movie?

JS: I try to make it as natural as possible. I visualize tornadoes there, I feel the wind. It’s not hard for us as they have wind in our face… rain, fire..debris.. They’ve got leaves, sticks blowing in our mouths.

AE: The moments are always there. As a cast, everyone is absolutely solid. We all trust Steve and the visual effects guys. It’s all there.

Into the Storm Richard Armitage Gary

So tell us more about your characters?

JS: Jacob and Daryl went to school together, I must have gotten held back a couple of years (laughs) as he’s been doing this longer than me! We have this whole back story that he called me up and got me this job.

AE: Yeah, I took him out of a trip to Cancun…and I got him to come on board so he could make some money, seen something he’s never seen before and this is a once of in a lifetime opportunity.

JS: I come on board and I get lot more than I bargained for. I’m not a weather man. I’m just a cameraman and I’m just trying to get the shot of the tornado. I’m the rookie of the team and I make a lot of mistakes. My character is new to this stuff but Daryl is my best friend and has sympathy for me, but you don’t want to mess with Pete.

Did you watch tornado documentaries in preparation for this film?

AE: It’s weird how things fall into place.  When I got picked up to do this film, literally on the weather channel and the Discovery channel, they had a natural disaster special with foods, tornadoes and hurricanes. So I just Tivo’d everything and submersed myself in watching that.

JS:  I’ve been a weather buff my whole life. Whenever there is a storm coming in, I’m always outside watching it for as long as it takes to get there and I watch it leave. I’m so enthralled watching storms. I grew up in Kentucky and as a kid at school one day, I am looking out the window and I said to the teacher: “Miss Jackson. The trees are swaying back and forth! I think there’s a tornado coming!!” She said: “No, go back to your work.” Five minutes later there was an announcement on the school intercom, everyone had to go to the hallway. There was a tornado, it tore through our school, messed up our playground and I was right.

Into The Storm Still Storm Cameramen

So did you tell your teacher: “I told you so!”?

JS: (Laughs) I wish I’d known what I told you so was back then. But now I would say “I told you so Miss Jackson!”

This must be a dream project for you?

JS: It is a dream project. When I read the script, I was so hard core on making this movie happen for me. I’m so pleased to be here. Twister was my favorite movie growing up and this is the modern day Twister.  I once worked with Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt so I’m going to call them and say “hey, you’ve got a new storm chaser for your group!”

Arlen, this is your second time teaming up with Steve. What kind of director is he?

AE: I was excited. After working with Steve in FD5, we have a cinematic genius in our hands. His brain is faster than I don’t know what. He is smart, savvy and I trust him a hundred per cent.  He has so many ideas.

What’s been the biggest challenge on this movie for you?

AE: LA Fitness closes too early, I can’t play basketball.  Nah, it would be working in the elements of not shooting the film traditionally. Justifying all the angles. Your mindset has to change. If you do something incorrectly, like if I’m holding the camera the wrong way, that changes the shot for everyone.


NEXT: Set Tour of Into the Storm


Into the Storm arrives in U.S. theaters on August 8th, 2014.

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