Set Visit: Final Destination (1/3)
Being a horror junkie, the best part about a flick for me can easily be the body count, and the amount of blood splattered on screen. So when JoBlo.com/ Arrow in the Head was invited to check out the set of the upcoming FINAL DESTINATION 3, there was no way in hell I was about to say no- in fact, I think I did a halleluiah happy dance as I, a young buck when it comes to the world of journalism, was actually on his way to his first set visit ever!
Taking the Ride of my Life
On top of that, I’ve been a huge fan of the FINAL DESTINATION series since day one- not for their cinematic contributions to film, but because of their awesome ways of killing people off! There’s some serious creativity and imagination at work in these films, and they defiantly know what the audience wants- not character development, but a high body count!
What should we expect?
Six years after the events of Final Destination, Wendy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a high school senior, has a premonition of a fatal amusement park accident involving herself and all her friends. When the premonition proves true, those who survive the accident are forced to deal with the repercussions of escaping their fate.
But fate is not so easily thwarted, and as Wendy and Kevin (Ryan Merriman) desperately try to interpret the clues that might save lives, one-by-one their friends meet fantastically gruesome ends.
I know- not very specific at all, but that’s why there’s a set visit- to shed a bit more light on the project, and so you have a little more insight as to what to expect in 2006 when FD3 smashes into theaters. So without further adieu- onto the set visit!
Arriving at the Studio
Once at the production office, we were taken into a room where we were to interview producer Craig Perry (FD, FD2, AMERICAN PIE), writer Glen Morgan (FD) and director James Wong (FD, WILLARD), as well as the two main leads of the film, Ryan Merriman (H8, RINGS) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. I’m not going to get into bulk of the interviews just yet, but stay tuned as they will be arriving shortly.
In the corner of the room was a toy model of a roller coaster, something you’d see in a 6 year old’s play room- with the coaster’s car occupied with tiny toy-people that resembled Weebles (you do remember Weebles, don’t you?). At that moment, I knew that these guys were going into this project gung-ho on having fun, and weren’t taking the coaster accident too seriously. I mean, it’s a movie whose sole purpose is to kill people off in creative death sequences, how serious can they be?
Storyboards... of Death!
Next to that storyboard, we were also able to check out part of a death sequence being storyboarded involving spilled suntan lotion and a tanning bed, but weren’t allowed to see the whole thing. Apart from the opening deaths, all other death scenes/sequences were being kept very hush-hush (we also briefly learned of a scene involving a Home Improvement-type store- can we say 'powertools'?). They have to keep some surprises, don’t they?
PreVis of the Accident
That’s when the real treat began. Shaw was nice enough to actually show us the entire PreVis of the roller coaster death sequence, full with action packed music (think ALIENS score), sound effects of the coaster itself and screams from those dying on screen. Let me just say, that while what we saw looked like a crappy computer animated cartoon that you find on ABC Saturday mornings (yeah, I still watch cartoons, what of it?), the scene was fast, it was furious, it was intense as hell- and it’ll make you think twice about riding a roller coaster ever again. Least to say, it was f*ckin’ awesome! I had a blast watching the horror of the coaster malfunctioning, and even laughed out loud due to a couple of sweet, gorey deaths. Without giving too much away, just think what would happen if your shoulder harness became undone while going through corkscrews and loop-de-loops. Nuff said.
On board the 'Devil's Flight'
The coaster on the set was a real coaster, which was pretty cool, with real cars, and a real track. The track went up through the set and all the way up to the roof of the soundstage- a good 60 feet high! It was fully functional, with a remote control harness release, and was able to move all the up the track just like an actual roller coaster would. At the end of the coaster track near the roof was a green screen, where the track will appear to go up another 150 feet or so. Very cool set and very fitting for a ride called ‘Devil’s Flight’.
Don't mess with Texas!
On this day they were filming the scene where the characters board the ride, specifically Texas Battle’s character Lewis, otherwise known as the ‘wise-crackin’ black dude’ of the picture. We listened to some bad dialogue as he got into the car, and as his shoulder harness is pushed down by the ride attendant. Funniest moment was after shooting his line ‘Motherf*cker, my nuts!’ (as the harness squishes down into his package- we’ve all been there before…), Battle was to then shoot the scene without the swearing for the TV version (which I wasn’t aware they did). The funny part was, it took him like 3 times to say the line without dropping the F-bomb.
Other actors filming their ‘boarding the coaster’ scene were punk rockers Kris Lemche, who plays Ian, and Alexz Johnson, who plays Erin- the two ‘we’re smarter and better than everyone else here’ type characters who may or may not die on the coaster after Wendy’s premonition (like I said, they were very hush-hush on who and how the folks in the flick die).
While watching this scene, producer Craig Perry came over and chatted with us, confirming that they were going to try and shoot as much as the coaster scene with real coasters before they move on to using a green screen- making it as real as possible. Judging from the PreVis that we were shown, there’s really no way in hell they could actually film the whole thing without CGI, so it’s good to know that they’ll attempt to use it as sparingly as possible.
On Location with the Devil
After the coaster set, we were taken on location of the amusement park, where they were filming exterior shots the night before. Funny thing was, it was freezing at night and the actors had to act like it was a hot summer evening- now that’s acting! We were shown the ‘Corkscrew’, the actual ride the ‘Devil’s Flight’ was based on, and we were able to check out the giant sculpture of the devil- the beast that welcomed patrons to the ride itself. It was a massive sculpture made out of Styrofoam (ah, movie magic…), painted red and black, with the devil’s face lookin’ mighty badass… and mighty pissed off! It was great. As they were done filming the exterior shots, the sculpture had been taken down and was in pieces, and even so… it was actually kind of scary looking.
So now what?
DESTINATION 3 will