While many Hollywood productions face budget cuts on their path to the big screen, Earth to Echo is the rare film to receive more money so it could deliver one of its most memorable moments.
The sequence is the big “trailer moment,” the one audiences will likely be talking about: When the three kids find their new alien friend and go on the run from the bad guys, Echo helps them escape a head-on collision with a semi by disassembling the truck and then putting it back together.
Despite that scene not existing in the original cut, Echo writer Henry Gayden told SPINOFF he can’t imagine the film without it.
“That was a very interesting scene to pull off, and we are very grateful for how it all came to be,” he said during the film’s press junket. “Relativity acquired this movie [from Disney], and they came to [director David Green] and I and said, ‘Look: Is there a scene that you want to do that’s awesome?’ Which is just great. And originally, what we came up with was — there was a car coming at them that they disassemble into pieces in mid-air, then [Echo] puts it back together. But we were talking and, at that point in the movie, we realized that we have such a slow burn from the opening to get to this huge spaceship reveal… So then Dave was like, ‘What about a truck? Like, this huge truck?’ and that was it. We knew that had to be in it.”
While that set piece came together fairly quickly, two more scenes proved challenging during the script phase.
“The hardest scene to crack was figuring out was the end,” Gayden recalled. “I put [Echo’s] spaceship underground, and it had to come up. So I had to figure that out, how it’s going to get up and [put itself back together].”
Also difficult was a pivotal scene early one when the boys attempt first contact with Echo through a game of 20 questions.
“We really wrangled with the 20 questions scene in the barn,” Gayden said. “We knew we didn’t want this thing to speak English, we don’t want it to learn English either. So then we came up with the whole ‘one beep for yes, two for no’ thing, and it was like: ‘Oooh, that’s fun. I can do something with that’ … And that was very exciting for me.”
Earth to Echo is in theaters now.