The 2013 summer movie season is just getting into full swing, and that momentum continues with today’s release of After Earth. The film is the latest project from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Signs), and stars Will and Jaden Smith as father and son team returning to Earth on a scouting mission thousands of years after it was abandoned.
Bringing this ominous vision to life was a sizeable undertaking, and we’re proud to see a number of Full Sail graduates among the talented crew. This included postproduction artists Andrew Byrne (FX artist; Recording Arts, 2011), Philip Rosado (matchmove artist; Computer Animation, 2007), and Zhuotao Zhang (matchmove artist; Computer Animation, 2008), as well as essential set crew like Jonathan Clark (additional second assistant camera; Computer Animation, 2000) and Steve Cainas (production coordinator; Film, 1992).
As a 20-year veteran of the industry, Steve Cainas is no stranger to large-scale projects, having previously worked on recent blockbusters like Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1 and Part 2. After Earth marks his first foray into science fiction, and he recently dropped us a line to speak about his work on this anticipated summer release.
Full Sail: M. Night Shyamalan is such a creative force, what was it like being a part of one of his projects?
Steve Cainas: Night is a unique filmmaker who brought his creative vision to the project. The guy is such a master of suspense and fear. This was his first stab at directing a film from a screenplay he didn’t originate. The story originated from Will Smith’s idea, so Will and Night constantly collaborated the entire way.
FS: Do you have a favorite memory from the production?
SC: The best memory was the day I was invited to attend the very first screening on the Sony Studios lot. It was Night’s first time showing the film to studio executives, along with Will Smith and all the producers. I felt so fortunate to sit behind Will and Night as they shared notes on such a premature version of the film, which still lacked visual effects and music. I was glowing after that as it reminded me of the cool factor of the job.
FS: How exciting is it for you to be on of one of the biggest movies of the summer?
SC: Overall an exciting journey. Creating the look of earth 1000 years from now meant shooting in some pretty rad locations. A chase scene through the most immense and oldest Redwood trees in Northern California; the cloud forest surrounding the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica; the rocks and red terrain backdrops of Moab, Utah that doubled as a neighboring planet. It was a great experience.