In attendance for the movie was the producer, Joel Silver ("Lethal Weapon," "The Matrix"), director Stephen Hopkins ("Lost in Space," "The Ghost and the Darkness"), and stars Hilary Swank ("Million Dollar Baby," "Boys Don't Cry") and AnnaSophia Robb ("Because of Winn-Dixie"). The trailer was screened for the audience, and left many people itching to see more.
The film's story is about a professional "de-bunker" – someone whose job it is to explain strange occurrences and other bizarre phenomena. This character is played by Swank, who visits a small town in Louisiana where the Old Testament plagues seem to be occurring. Water turns to blood, locusts (lots of locusts!) appear, and people die. The reason for these plagues appears to be tied to the life of a young girl (Robb), although Swank is obviously skeptical. However, if you were a resident of this small town, it would be a good time to move.
Hopkins discussed the filming of the movie, which was actually done down in Louisiana. He indicated that they were there for both of the major hurricanes, and said crew lost many possessions, including friends and loved ones. According to the director, the second hurricane hit them worse. He said, at times, they were making the film without phones, email, and sometimes generators (which went to FEMA). Hopkins said it really forced them to go back to the basics of filmmaking.
Robb talked about the locusts. While most are computer-generated, many of them were real. Robb had several scenes dealing with the locusts, and had to let them crawl all over her. As a result, she just became used to the feeling of them. She would walk on the set, and the locust wranglers would actually toss the bugs on her to get them to stick on her.
Swank also commented on her preparation for the film, saying Hopkins gave her lots of info about professional "de-bunkers," and they even had one on the set. Swank laughed as she recalled that Hopkins signed her up for a subscription to "The Skeptical Enquirer" (although she confessed it contained a lot of interesting information).
During the Q&A, a fan asked Swank if she would be willing to do TV, and more specifically, if she would be willing to do a Supergirl TV show. Swank chuckled, and replied, "Wow. That's very specific." However, she did explain that she was willing to do any kind of work, provided the material was good and spoke to her, which was the main reason she did "The Reaping."
Next up came director Neil LaBute ("In the Company of Men," "Nurse Betty"), who was there to talk about his remake of the film "The Wicker Man," starring Nicolas Cage. He began by showing the audience the opening scene from the film. Cage is a motorcycle cop who pulls over a mother and her young daughter in the station wagon they are driving. He's not giving them a ticket though, he's merely handing back a doll the girl threw out of the car. Cage's character talks to them, turns his back to pick up something, and…wham!
What's the "wham!"? I'll let you experience it for yourself. Needless to say, it certainly made the audience jump.
LaBute talked a bit about the film, and explained that his version is more of a "inspired by the original" as opposed to a strict remake. Addressing questions from audience members, he explained that Nicolas Cage's production company approached him to direct.
He also said that his regular acting cohort Aaron Eckhart ("In the Company of Men," "Thank You For Smoking") will be appearing in the film in a small but pivotal role. As for Chris Lee (who starred in the original film), he won't be in the movie.
width="230" height="154" alt="" border="0">