Joseph Kosinski's latest film, Oblivion, may be one of a slew of big- budget sci-fi films to hit theatres in 2013 - a year that includes Pacific Rim, After Earth and Elysium - but after getting a first look at the film's trailer a few weeks ago, it's safe to say that the director's follow up to Tron: Legacy should stand out from its competition.
Any film that offers an original take on a post-apocalyptic tale, strikingly rich visuals or Tom Cruise in the central role will generate buzz - and fortunately for Kosinski, his film has all three. The director recently talked about how the film has developed since its inception back in 2005, the state-of-the-art cameras that were used to create truly breathtaking images -and of course, working with Tom Cruise.
Although Kosinski has only made two films, he's already being labeled by many as a "visual" director. When speaking with Collider, Kosinski talked about his vision for the film's distinct look, which was also something he spent a lot of time nailing down with Tron: Legacy:
"In terms of the look and my vision for it I felt that I wanted to do something that I hadn’t seen in a while, which was a daytime science fiction film. After Alien, which is one of my favorites, science fiction kind of went into a very dark place for a long time and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to bring it into the daylight. So this aesthetic of taking this kind of very clean refined technology set against a rugged backdrop, which ended up being Iceland. For me that juxtaposition of those two looks felt like something that could be very unique. For whatever reason that was something that came to me very clearly and something that we stuck to and that has worked throughout the whole film."
Kosinski was able to more fully realize his vision with the help from brand new Sony CineAlta F65 cameras, which had just come off the assembly line a couple of weeks before shooting. After testing several different cameras, the new F65s ended up being the right choice for the film. Said Kosinski:
"...I think the F65 in 4K is a huge leap forward in resolution. So personally even if I was given the choice, I’ve always shot digital so for me F65 would be my choice now for almost anything. For me it kind of feels like a 65mm, a digital 65mm in terms of its resolution and sharpness."
The visuals will surely be one of the major draws of the film, so Kosinski's reveal that Oblivion will receive a first-ever full seven-day early release in IMAX is bound to get sci-fi fans psyched for a one-of-a-kind experience.
"Tom [Cruise] had a lot of success doing on Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol we had a lot of success on Tron: Legacy just in IMAX as a format because of what IMAX offers in terms of brightness, picture quality and sound. Tron: Legacy did a lot of business in IMAX. As a percentage I think one of the highest. So from early on, once IMAX found out what this movie was about, the kind of landscapes and shots we were doing we all liked the idea that IMAX would be the first way to experience the film. I think it’s the best way. And then roll out from there."
The other obvious draw is Cruise's star power. Kosinski was lucky again in that Cruise loved the film from the word go, even before there was a script, so getting him signed on was relatively easy.
"There was no script, that’s kind of the amazing thing. I showed the ashcan, which is kind of like a little eight page preview...That’s all I had. Obviously I had the whole treatment, but in that little ashcan we just put a little opening chapter that kind of introduced the story and it had like eight pictures in it; just a little teaser pamphlet. The day after I got back from Comic-Con I got a call from his agent that he wanted to meet, that he had seen the ashcan. Somehow he had gotten his hands on it the day after Comic-Con. So we had a meeting out at his hanger and I pitched him the story—there was no script yet—and based on the pitch he signed on."
Cruise may get his share of flack now and again, but in the industry he is known as a true team player. So how was Kosinski's experience working with him? Here's what he had to say:
"It was an amazing process. I learned a lot from him. He’s worked with all of my heroes, literally, and just is so knowledgeable and has done so many movies and so many great movies. So through him I was learning from Stanley Kubrick and Michael Mann and Ridley Scott and Sydney Pollack. All that advice and talks they had with him I got to get that second hand and there’s no replacement for that, it was an amazing, amazing opportunity. So I’m really excited about the movie and really proud of it. It was an amazing experience. I would say any director that has a shot at working with Tom, do not hesitate. Go immediately and you will learn, you will be pushed and you will have an experience you will never forget."
Based on what we've heard and seen from Oblivion so far, it looks like it may be an experience we won't forget either.
Check out Oblivion when it opens on April 19th, 2013.