The book has a 9/11 vibe to it. Are you going to embrace that?
Rick Carter I think thats what informs this particular interpretation, is that fear in our society. But I think that when this is all said and done, it may go to another level that is beyond what you think its going to be. Meaning thats the beginning, thats what weve experienced. This is really the parallel plane. Out on the floor there with all of those people is a parallel plane to our own reality and it sometimes describes our world in a way that we cant even get at, in terms of being direct, because we dont even know. We cant see it.
Sometimes some artist comes along and does some fantastic thing and you go, Well, that really reflected that era. The 50s is easy to see that way. The Red Menace and the atomic bomb and all that. My sense is that this is just tapping into something as a beginning point that relates to the aftermath of 9/11 and the fear factor that we all have, but that it goes further and it evolves. Its actually not always just about the aliens. Its what happens when youre as Doug was saying - battling that fear and what does it do to people. How do they respond? And so its not just sociological.
I think what will differentiate it from Independence Day is that I loved Independence Day and it came out at exactly the right time and for exactly that way. But no one is going to turn around in this movie and have a quick one-liner about a good hair day. Thats not to make it better or worse, it just reflects our times.
Will we see places other than the United States being invaded?
Doug Chiang - No. No, I think its alluded to. We are following our main hero and so we know all this stuff is going on and probably taking place everywhere else, but we dont see it.
Rick Carter I think its like how do you experience 9/11 if you werent there? What Im trying to get at is you kind of know where you were. You kind of know who you talked to. And you know maybe, if you had kids, how you presented it to them. It almost just evolves from that point. I think you have a sense that this is within the whole world, but thats part of any movie, isnt it? How the intimate and the broader intermingle. I think thats the part that I would say is, I hope, going to be the strongest part of the movie, [and] ultimately that it would be a really good movie. The science fiction elements are what get the whole thing going and keep it going, but it isnt just the be all and end all of the hardware.
You cant describe the aliens, but what can you say about the aliens that says something about their culture or their goals in invading Earth?
Doug Chiang Rick and I, when we do designs like this, we always try to research as much as we can. In some ways I think that Rick hit it right on the nail in that were trying to create fear or an image of fear. Whatever that is to each individual person is always different. Theres always shadow images and stuff. So in some ways were trying to create these creatures, or these machines or whatever, as sort of manifestations of what terrifies me or what terrifies Rick. It may not terrify everybody else, but I think were trying to capture that essence. Playing it so that its not really the literal [interpretation], but more sort of capturing that spirit, is the approach that we were taking. In some ways its better that way, because it can be interpreted many different ways. I mean, ultimately, when you guys see the design you might think that its not scary or whatever. Personally, I really think its terrifying and I think its very fresh. I know were talking all around in shadows and alluding to stuff, but its really trying to describe fear.
Did any earthly cultures or images influence your designs?
Rick Carter I can just say the thing thats interesting about it is that its not so much that theres a culture that represents them, or that weve figured out their whole world. Its more like Were sitting around this table, if somebody was watching from up there and suddenly you became aware that youre being watched And that has a point of view to it. How are they perceiving us? It constantly mirrors back onto us. So what Im trying to get at is, at its source, what I think becomes the most threatening is the way that they seem to regard us and our planet, and what they seek.
Its both sociological and broad but its also in a few instances, very personal. Thats that thing that Spielberg is very good at doing, is taking something that may seem broad and suddenly making it very personal. Let me just say, it would be the opposite of the little fingers going and getting candy [in ET]. It would be the opposite of touching a flower [thats] dying and making it come alive.