The War of the Worlds filmed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 13, 2004
Pendragon Pictures proudly announces the completion of principal photography of H.G. WELLS' THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. Set in Wells' intended turn-of-the-century English locale, the movie is the world's first authentic adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic 1898 novel.
The live-action production, lensed in tight security under the cover title THE GREAT BOER WAR, took two and a half months to complete on location in England and the Pacific Northwest. The picture wrapped almost three years to the date when Pendragon's original updated version of WAR OF THE WORLDS was shut down due to the events of September 11th. Director Timothy Hines reflects, "We never stopped really. After an initial two-week hiatus, we saw the light in adapting a dead-on accurate version of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS from the original source material, thanks to the influence and advice of people such as Charles Keller, the director of the H.G. Wells Society and tens of thousands of fans who wrote us."
A script was immediately begun as the production company shot out a sci-fi movie about robot slaves called CHROME, in order to protect their resources.
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS has been a labor of love for the principals at Pendragon. "We haven't rushed anything," beams producer Susan Goforth. "Every period detail has been painstakingly and carefully researched over the last three years as we developed the project," Co-producer John Gallo adds, "Timothy wanted everything to be right, as the fans' expectations are enormous. Like Peter Jackson with LORD OF THE RINGS, Timothy is a deep fan of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. He's been planning to make the movie for decades. The research was grueling and information was sometimes extremely difficult to obtain, such as finding the right class of ship the Thunderchild would have been. But it was worth it. In the end, Tim's vision proved to be right. The movie is detail perfect."
The cast is filled out with world-class actors, such as Jack Clay, founder of the first Professional Actor's Training Program at Southern Methodist University, upon which virtually all other collegiate programs are based. Jack Clay was the acting teacher of many phenomenal talents, such as Academy award-winning actress Kathy Bates and Val Kilmer's opponent in TOMBSTONE, Powers Boothe.
"We didn't have a jillion dollars," states an amused Hines, "But our budget is not embarrassing as we're in eight figures. We certainly could afford movie stars. But I felt dubious about casting huge movie stars like, when, for our first version, we negotiated with Michael Caine, Charlize Theron and Eric Stoltz. The Hollywood agents' methods of negotiation are frustrating and enigmatic to me. Like when Michael Caine's agent claimed at one point to have never spoken with me. When I showed her a pile of faxes and emails between us, she had an assistant call me back and confirm, 'Yes, we are talking.' Instead, we turned to the world's greatest undiscovered talent. For the main protagonist we auditioned twelve hundred and, ironically, found him in our own back yard in the form of Anthony Piana, who portrays the sociopathic Colonel Zet in CHROME. I believe Anthony is the next Al Pacino. His level of commitment and talent is like no actor I've ever seen." Other cast members include James Lathrop as the Artilleryman and John Kaufmann as the Curate.
In response to fans' concerns about the polish and punch of the special effects, Hines is quick to comment, "We have the best and brightest talent in the FX department. THE WAR OF THE WORLDS is such a known entity that we didn't have to seek them out. They came to us with enthusiasm and a deep desire to be involved. Budget and fees has not been a concern to these people. They are fans, like myself, and are creating this picture with love and integrity. Our effects will be state-of-the-art. We are utilizing both CGI and miniatures as well as many full-scale mechanical effects that were already shot out on set. Besides, the fans can go to our website and check out our movie trailer for CHROME if they have fears."
Concerning the announced Spielberg/Cruise production, Timothy Hines is philosophical, "We communicated with the principals at Paramount before 9/11. They acknowledged in writing through their attorneys that we can make our picture. At that time an Executive producer on Dreamworks' THE TIME MACHINE invited us to his home in Las Vegas, where he informed us that Tom Cruise had aspirations to make the picture. They essentially all told us to go away. Since then, many friends and allies of Tom Cruise have communicated to us the same sentiment. Now that they have announced that they are doing a modern version, I think there's room for both our productions to exist. What they are doing sounds interesting. From what I understand, they are changing the story dramatically, whereas we have point-by-point recreated the book for the screen. Our production of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS is set at the turn-of-the-century. We're almost a back story to their version, sort of like a prequel."
As to the planned Jeff Wayne animated version of WAR OF THE WORLDS, the Pendragon principals were repeatedly approached by Wayne's representatives to work out some form of collaboration, but nothing came of the communications. "I think the Wayne production should be a lot of fun," says Hines. "There's room for us all. Wells was a mega-talent and an incredible visionary. I'm sure the staying power of his Martian invasion story helped bring NASA more hits to their website than any in history when they landed their robot on Mars. Wells would likely have been amused by all the interest in his work. I'm proud to be the first to accurately bring H.G. Wells' THE WAR OF THE WORLDS to the screen."
Pendragon Pictures expects a spring 2005 release for H.G. WELLS' THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, however the exact date will be announced by Pendragon's distributor at MIPCOM this October.