Edge of Tomorrow Preview and Doug Liman Q&A

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As Sunday marked a close to the awards season with the Oscars, on a warm cheerful day, in London’s West End, dozens of bloggers and journalists swarmed into Vue to catch a glimpse of preview footage from Doug Liman’s latest effort, Edge of Tomorrow.

Edge of Tomorrow is a science fiction film based on the Japanese light novel ‘All You Need is Kill’ by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The project is also currently receiving a Japanese manga adaptation in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump.

One clip from the forthcoming Warner Bros. film was screened. The footage was introduced by an onscreen Tom Cruise, whom himself was very enthusiastic about the project, and soon disappeared as the clip began to play out.

As the audience gazed at the screen with intrigue, and chuckled at the humorous elements within the film, whilst also attempting to gather the plot of the story, it all soon became evident to us to the point where we felt as if we were part of the story.

The clip begins showing Lt. Col. William “Bill” Cage (Tom Cruise), who awakes at a Heathrow army base, but has no idea as to how he arrived there. He learns that he has been listed as a deserter, and is soon thrust into combat, without any experience and is killed within minutes. After his death by the alien known as the ‘mimic’, he begins reliving the moment where he wakes up at the Heathrow base. This continuously occurs, and eventually he saves a Special Forces warrior, Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt). He soon learns that she had this ability to loop, but then lost it. Working together, they work towards a way of defeating the enemy, whilst looping several times.

Doug Liman was introduced shortly after the clip had ended to a massive roar of applause, stating that he didn’t know what to expect of the clip that was going to be shared, and that “It’s so rare these days to find a film that fulfils a big studio appetite, and is really original.”

Liman’s last film, Fair Game, was released four years ago was also based on a novel. Similarly two of his other notable films, Jumper and The Bourne Identity had been adapted from novels. He says that he is “very good at being an honest critic” of himself, and breaking the mould is what has allowed himself to become a better director. With The Bourne Identity he “went into the film saying, ‘this is not going to be like other movies,'” and thus the notion of him ‘breaking the mould’ began to solidify. However, with a film like Jumper he felt that it was one that he didn’t get quite right, and stated, “A lot of what I learnt from Jumper, I put into this film.”

Edge of Tomorrow boasts of an excellent score, visual and sound effects which all tie in to create something that keeps interest. You get a sense of the atmospheric beauty in the trailer with the song ‘This Is Not The End’ by Fieldwork. Liman lauded the efforts of Tom Cruise, willing to shoot seven days a week, and praising him as an actor. “You feel like you’re in his shoes , you care about him,” said Liman. He stated that whether you like or hate Tom Cruise, the film was a win-win situation. “If you love Tom Cruise he gives a brilliant performance, and if you hate Tom Cruise, he dies a lot.”

The design of the film was of particular interest, seeing the mech-suits worn by the main characters, as well as the design of the mimics. Liman states “the design of the movie got ahead of the script,” to the point where it was almost as if they made a comic before the actual script. They transformed their images into a script.

When recalling the production process, Liman notes that he didn’t initially know the tone the film was going to have, stating that he was finding the tone as they went. The film ended up having comedic elements in which Liman said, “Tom is a brilliant comedic actor.” Liman recalls “going off” at Emily Blunt as she gave a suggestion, and ultimately conceded, “We can all agree we’ve never made a movie like this, so it’s a safe space to toss in ideas.” This was something he hadn’t done much of since the production of one of his earlier films, Swingers.

Edge of Tomorrow was the first film to be shot in Leavesden Studios following its renovation. Liman states they “shot the entire movie on the stages and back lot of Leavesden studios,” where one of the only times they actually left the studio was to land a massive helicopter in Trafalgar Square. Working completely in the United Kingdom was something Liman was new to. “Having the opportunity to work here, I got to have the best in every single department.” However not all was great about the United Kingdom, as Liman jokingly said, “Your weather is not great over here.”

Whilst it can be quite difficult to adapt Japanese projects into Western ones, the preview clip has more than certainly proved that Doug Liman has the ability to ‘break that mould’. Whilst explaining his love for niche markets, which is also backed by Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise’s care for the mainstream markets, he believes that this is a project that will appeal for both. Whilst learning from his past mistakes, and trying to form something new, Edge of Tomorrow looks like a project destined to succeed.

Edge of Tomorrow is released on 30 May 2014.

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