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The Day the Earth Stood Still, Again

December 12th, 2008 · 9 Comments

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John Cleese serious for Earth

John Cleese serious for Earth

John Cleese takes serious role in Green remake of Sci-Fi classic By Robin Rowe HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 12/12/2008 – “I’m actually not terribly interested in whether or not there is extraterrestrial life,” says The Day the Earth Stood Still star John Cleese. “I’m much more interested why we’re here on the planet. Is there any point to it all? Is there a rulebook somewhere? And where can you get decent caviar at a reasonable price?” As re-conceived by screenwriter David Scarpa and director Scott Derrickson, the 2008 version of 1951 Sci-Fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still is rooted not in the Cold War but in mankind’s destruction of the environment. In keeping with the film’s theme, and as part of Twentieth Century Fox parent company News Corp’s corporate mandate to be carbon-neutral by the year 2010, The Day the Earth Stood Still was chosen to be the studio’s first green production. John Cleese plays the role of professor Barnhardt. “Barnhardt was the hardest part to cast because he plays such a pivotal role in the story,” says producer Erwin Stoff. “He only appears in one scene, but it’s the scene on which the entire film hinges. I had met John Cleese once or twice and knew him to be a man with an absolutely searing and intimidating intellect. I knew he would approach the character from an unexpected, unsentimental, interesting angle, and that’s exactly what happened.” “I think of Barnhardt as being a man who operates on a much higher level of mental health than almost anyone I know,” says Cleese. “He’s fascinated by how human beings can make themselves better and have a more civilized and intelligent life.” Barnhardt must convince Klaatu, who’s come to Earth to determine how to save the planet, that the human race is worth saving. When Barnhardt meets Klaatu, the alien gives him some corrections to a complex mathematical problem the scientist is trying to solve on a blackboard. “It’s obvious to Barnhardt from what Klaatu is writing that he knows more than the professor does, and there aren’t too many people in the universe who know more than Barnhardt about this particular subject,” says Cleese. “The trouble is, I had to be able to write the equation, because Barnhardt has been working on it for sixty years. I learned to carefully copy things down that mean nothing to me at all. In ‘A Fish Called Wanda’, I spoke a lot of Russian without having any idea what it means.” Cinematographer David Tattersall, known for shooting such films as Star Wars Episode I and Star Wars Episode II, used film rather than digital cameras for The Day the Earth Stood Still. “Our approach is sort of classic old-school cinematography mixed with a lot of state-of-the-art technology,” says Tattersall, who as much as possible used  rear-screen projection and painted backdrops rather than green screens and digital visual effects. “It’s really exciting to be involved in making a movie about saving the world, and at the same time, taking steps to make sure we leave a zero footprint,” says visual effects producer Jeff Okun. “Everybody on the crew dug into it with zealousness.” The art department posted digital photos on a website that could be accessed by other departments, cutting down additional printing and paper waste. Scene painters, construction crew and set dressers used recyclable materials and biodegradable products whenever possible. Lumber was provided from sustainably-managed forests. Costume designer Tish Monaghan’s used environmentally-conscious solvents and dyes. Garment bags and hangars were recycled rather than thrown away after filming. To increase fuel efficiency, hybrid vehicles were used. Biodiesel fuel based on vegetable oil was substituted for fossil fuels in generators. The Day the Earth Stood Still tells a story of ecological consciousness on two levels, in the story and behind the scenes in how the picture was made. The Day the Earth Stood Still Duration: 1 hr. 50 min. Release Date: December 12th, 2008 (USA) Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi disaster images and violence Distributor: 20th Century Fox

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ron // Dec 14, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks for the plug

  • 2 Sam // Dec 15, 2008 at 2:10 am

    I will pass on seeing this movie because I can’t stomach sitting through another enviro-propaganda movie. Shove it, Hollyweird.

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