Based on the 1951 sci-fi classic, Keanu Reeves returns to his strong suit in the sci-fi realm in “The Day the Earth Stood Still” as he takes on the role Klaatu in the film. Klaatu is a humanoid alien from outer space who comes to Earth accompanied by an indestructible, heavily armed robot named Gort to try and stop humans from destroying each other and the planet. Caught in the midst of it all is Princeton University Professor Helen Benson (played by Jennifer Connelly) who had been recruited by the government for an event which they believe threatens the human existence.
Paying homage to the original, director Scott Derrickson (“The Exorcism of Emily Rose”) stated that the trailer currently playing online and in theaters concluded with the image of the robot Gort instead of Keanu’s character Klaatu. “It was intentional,” Derrickson said. “I certainly took a lot of time to explore other possibilities. It wasn’t just a foregone conclusion in my mind that we would be sticking to the original. I tried looking at a lot of different possibilities, worked on a lot of different ideas with artists and just always a nagging sense that there was something right about the way the original, that there was something about this alien entity choosing a human form or being in a human form that had value even by modern standards, not by 1950 standards. I also am such a fan of the original film. You have to also just have some respect for Gort. Gort is Gort. There’s no question what we designed pays homage to the original,” explains Derrickson.
“One of the biggest challenges of this movie was whether or not audiences would really buy the whole idea — and there’s no question that you buy it, there’s no question that you believe Keanu’s performance. He really thinks through every moment and every beat with tremendous rigor. And he is very clear, I think, about what works for him and his physicality,” Derrickson said. “And yet it’s not like he’s doing things that are highly unusual or highly quirky. What he’s doing is something that’s not quite so upfront and center or distracting, but it still really gives you a feel of alien-ness and keeps you aware of the fact that this being you’re walking through this movie with is not a human being.”
“I think that this film in some ways is an attempt to address a number of issues that are amongst the most pressing issues for the human race. The original being a Cold War film was addressing what was clearly the greatest threat for the human race at that time, mutual nuclear destruction, and that’s not the most pressing threat that we face now. It’s also man vs. man. We are destroying each other as well. Our country’s at war right now. I think it’s a movie about human nature as much as anything else and how human nature is acting itself out in the world right now,” Derrickson explained.
“The Day the Earth Stood Still” opens December 10 in local theaters nationwide from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.
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