The tape that tells the journey of a group of tornado hunters led by Jo (Helen Hunt) and Bill (Bill Paxton) was a worldwide event. A few days after its premiere in 1996, “Twister” raised, according to specialized media, about $ 495 million, thus becoming the second most successful film of the year behind “Independence Day”.
However, as happens many times, behind the success there is a story equal to or more than interesting than the one seen on screen. For this reason, and on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the feature film, it is worth reviewing some curiosities.
The protagonist who was not
Before thinking about Paxton, the first choice to star in the film was Tom Hanks. So advanced was the theme that Hanks even got to rehearse with the rest of the cast and chose the costumes for his character. But finally the protagonist of “Forest Gump” dropped out of the project. The producer shuffled the names of Kurt Russell and Michael Keaton, but on the recommendation of the director James Cameron the chosen one was Bill Paxton.
How were tornadoes created?
According to interviews given by the director and some of the protagonists, it was learned how tornadoes were recreated. In order to create that persistent windy climate and make them look realistic, turbines from a Boing 707 were used, as well as industrial-size turbos.. All this made at times the atmosphere on the set was deafening.
Meanwhile, the powerful noises produced by the different tornadoes come from a very particular recording. As revealed by the specialized magazine Variety, combinations of different animal moans, mostly camels, were used to recreate the devastating sound of storms.
Temporary blindness and some bumps
To create the contrast between the darkness of the tornadoes and what happened inside the vehicles, the production had to use extremely powerful headlights, installed in the bed of the trucks in which the protagonists moved. So powerful were these headlights that both Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton suffered damage to their retinas, on more than one occasion they suffered from blindness that persisted for a few hours.
In addition, Hunt suffered several blows while working on the shots that took place in the truck. On one occasion he suffered such a painful blow to his head when he collided with the door of the vehicle that filming had to be stopped.
Trial for plagiarism
In 1998 the screenwriter Stephen Kessler initiated a lawsuit for alleged plagiarism of the production of “Twister”. Kessler claimed that the tape was based on a script that he had written under the title of “Catch the Wind”. Said script had been sent to different production companies, including that of Steven Spielberg.
During the hearings, Michael Crichton and his wife Anne-Marie Martin, Also a screenwriter of the feature film, they revealed that they were inspired by their work after watching a television special about tornado hunters and that they were also influenced by the spirit of the classic “His Girl Friday” (1940), from Howard Hawks, by telling a story of entanglement starring a couple about to get divorced. Eventually Kessler lost the case.
A “Twister” reboot?
In June 2020 the news was released that Universal plans a movie reboot by Joseph Kosinski (Top Gun: Maverick) and with Frank Marshall as a producer.
Although details of the story were not revealed, the one who already spoke in various media about the news was the director Jan de Bont, “I read it like a month or two ago. I thought, ‘Wow, are they going to do the F5 now? I bet that’s what it’s going to be.’ You can’t do it by making it bigger. As a movie, it hardly ever works (.. .) It’s like saying ‘Come on, I’m going to do the scene of destruction: let’s make it worse and have entire cities destroyed.’ That’s exactly like falling into the trap of special effects taking over completely. “
With these words from Bont he has made his position clear, he does not want the reboot of “Twister” only depend on the special effects. Something that, based on new technologies, unfortunately often happens in today’s cinema.
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25 years after the film that redefined catastrophe cinema