Brad Peyton talks Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
By Anne Brodie Feb 6, 2012, 14:46 GMT
In this follow-up to the 2008 worldwide hit "Journey to the Center of the Earth," the new 3D family adventure "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island" begins when 17-year-old Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist. It\'s a place of strange life forms, mountains of gold, deadly volcanoes, and more than one astonishing secret. Unable to stop him from going, Sean\'s ...more
Newfoundland filmmaker Brad Peyton made just some shorts and a few TV spots before he was tapped him to direct Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore - budget $85M! Big step.
His next project, a big budget 3D action adventure starring Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine and Vanessa Hudgens, kicks him even higher up the food chain.
Inspired by the science fiction works of Jules Verne, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island takes place in a mythical South Seas paradise set somewhere behind a storm where nature is gloriously turned upside down. Our heroes find themselves stranded there and must find a way to survive and get out before disaster strikes.
We spoke with Peyton in Toronto about why the film is a kinder, gentler action outing and how it compares to herding dozens of cats and dogs.
M&C: Journey 2 the Mysterious Island is good for kids because it’s not extreme. It dispenses with some of the extreme elements of action movies that can be inappropriate for young children.
Peyton: It has the right sensibilities. My taste luckily isn’t about gratuitous anything, especially for this type of movie. Even when I did really dark stuff it was the heart behind the darkness that was interesting to me, the juxtaposition between sensitivity and darkness.
So for me a movie like this is a rollercoaster ride. It’s fun. It’s an adventure film. Could it get scary for a little kid? Maybe, but then I’ll make you laugh five seconds later and that’s the balance. Harrison Ford falls into a pit of snakes and then goes, “Why did it have to be snakes?”
In real life, tension creates comedy. A lot of times when people are in danger they crack jokes because they’re just so tense. It sounds a little bit silly because it’s a big fun adventure film, but you try to make it a little bit human. You try to ground it. You try to have real emotions. Otherwise it’s just spectacle and no one will care.
M&C: So Indiana Jones was your jumping off point?
Peyton: I loved Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones and I found that to be an inspiring movie because I cared about Indiana Jones. After Indiana Jones gets punched 400 times, what do they do at the beginning of the third act? They shoot him.
And that shows the audience he can get hurt. So what do I do? I break a character’s ankle. And it’s funny because you go to the meeting and say, “I want Josh to break his ankle” and they say, “Well, how’s he going to finish the movie?” Exactly!
M&C: Did you have to teach The Rock to play the ukulele?
Peyton: The Rock is not going to be taught anything. Here’s the thing with Dwayne. You meet Dwayne and you realize right away that he’s Superman. He’s the nicest guy in the world, but if you punch Superman he’s going to get angry. He’s also 6’5” and 270 pounds.
If you think about the history of wrestling and that kind of showmanship arena, how few guys have gone from being at the top of that game and successfully gone on to become legitimate movie stars. And you wonder, what are the attributes it takes to do that?
Dwayne is incredibly passionate, incredibly driven, when he does something, he commits to doing it 100%. So when Dwayne came on the movie, he was like “Brad I want to pitch you this 3D idea.” In my head, I’m like “Is he going to say he’ll punch the camera?”
And then he describes the pec pop of love! Dwayne’s a big 3D fan so he’s like, “if I’m going to do a 3D movie, I’m going to do it Dwayne Johnson-style.”
He brings himself into the movie that way. And the ukulele scene was Dwayne saying, “You know, I love playing the ukulele, I wonder if we could do that?” It’s this little tiny guitar and a really big guy.
M&C: This is an homage to Jules Verne’s novels, what interested you?
Peyton: Well, for this one in particular, part of the Journey brand is Verne so it’s not like I can ignore that. Look, the franchise promises two things, a really great 3D experience and then Jules Verne.
And that’s what separates us from other blockbusters: understanding what Verne represents and looking at his work, not as a retelling but as a reference point.
They did an adaptation of The Mysterious Island in the 60’s and it was a great movie. It has a great score, Bernard Hermann was the composer.
I respect that stuff, but I’m not trying to do that again. I’m trying to build on the mythology that he wrote, but under the pretense that it was real on some level and the story can grow from there. So you’re using it as an inspiration point.
I feel like as long as I can be respectful to Journey of the Center of The Earth, the book, the original source material, and the movies that came before me, then I’m ok to venture off into my own version. I feel like you’ve got to respect it, but you’re not tied to it in any single way.
In fact, there’s a great opportunity with the books because not only do I not to just want to do a straight adaptation, but what I can kind of use to my advantage is that you predispose certain things about say, From The Earth To The Moon, which I can then prove aren’t real.
I can say they’re true and I can say they’re not true. So I can build in twists and turns because the book is only a study of what he said was real in his day.
So it’s a way to kind of tie the world and the story to a type of reality that we recognize, literature that we recognize, and history that we recognize. But then also to just go where we want which is good because the movies are essentially about imagination and that kind of thing. So, yeah it’s a touchstone.
M&C: So which was more difficult, making this huge movie in 3D or wrangling those Cats and Dogs?
Peyton: I will say this; I’d much rather direct Dwayne Johnson in anything than a bunch of cats and dogs. That’s more difficult. A lot more.
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FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CJosh Hutcherson Biography -
Josh Hutcherson Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesMichael Caine Biography -
Michael Caine Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesThe Rock Biography - Vanessa Hudgens Biography -
Vanessa Hudgens Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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