Movie adapts Val­ley beauty into film

Imperial Valley Press - - Front Page - BY WIL­LIAM ROLLER Staff Writer

Smol­der­ing em­bers of chok­ing camp­fires, beached wa­ter­craft, burned-out school bus and a pock­marked Jeep tagged with a skull and cross­bones be­neath a shat­tered wind­screen is the dystopian scene that sears the senses of the “Fu­ture World” movie set.

“Fu­ture World” has made ju­di­cious use of Im­pe­rial Val­ley to­pog­ra­phy near Baker Lake to bring to fore the ma­cabre post-apoc­a­lyp­tic vi­sion of a story co-di­rected by Bruce Thierry Che­ung, who cowrote a script with Jay Davis, Jeremy Che­ung and based on an orig­i­nal story idea of James Franco, who also acts and co- di­rects this chill­ing tale.

It is set in a des­o­late land­scape of the near fu­ture of famine, fever and near- con­stant war that fol­lows the Young Prince from the Oa­sis (fi­nal safe haven) and a ro­bot named Ash as they em­bark on a trek of self- dis­cov­ery through the grim do­main of the Waste­lands. The movie co-stars Milla Jovovich, Method Man, Mar­garita Le­vieva, Jef­frey Wahlberg, Lucy Liu, Suki Waterhouse and Snoop Dog.

The crew has shot the last five weeks from Bom­bay Beach, Ni­land, Braw­ley to Baker Lake, noted Charla Teeters, Im­pe­rial County Film Com­mis­sion pro­gram man­ager. “It’s been a great group,” said Teeters. “It’s al­ways nice to see how film pro­duc­tion teams uti­lize the Val­ley.”

Che­ung was shoot­ing another movie in the Val­ley, “Don’t Come back from the Moon” in Bom­bay Beach when he spot­ted an aban­doned fac­tory off Cal­i­for­nia State Route 111 and de­cided it was an ideal cen­ter­piece to film a scene around, ex­plained Lau­ren Bates, co- pro­ducer.

The project is pro­duced by Dark Rab­bit Pro­duc­tions and AMBI will distribute the movie when edit­ing is com­pleted. It has been a wild ride, said Bates. “Every day is some­thing new: Jeep stuck in the mid­dle of nowhere, tents fly­ing away, ac­tors jug­gling sched­ules with other shoots, but it’s fun and chal­leng­ing,” said Bates. “Dark Rab­bit started out as small art films with James (Franco) buts it’s grown into fea­ture films. I think they’re on the right path.”

“Fu­ture World” will wrap at the end of the week and go into post-pro­duc­tion of sound ef­fects, scor­ing mu­sic and vis­ual ef­fects but is ex­pected to re­lease next spring. Jay Davis pro­ducer and co- writer of the script, re­marked it has been a great sec­ond time here. He worked with Bruce Che­ung on “Don’t Come Back from the Moon.” For this movie what has been awe­some is the il­lu­sion of a post-apoc­a­lyp­tic realm the Val­ley ex­udes, stressed Davis.

“We needed a lo­ca­tion where the world was aban­doned and sev­eral places around Sal­ton Sea matched that vi­sion,” said Davis. “It saved us a ton of money from build­ing sets be­cause these nat­u­ral sets fit right into the story.”

Over­all the shoot went very well and Dark Rab­bit got a lot of value for its pro­duc­tion bud­get of $2 mil­lion. “But the value we got makes it look like a much larger pro­duc­tion,” in­sisted Davis. “Due to the co­op­er­a­tion of of­fi­cials with per­mits and busi­nesses look­ing after our trail­ers as well as help from Charla, we’re look­ing for a mul­ti­c­ity (up to 50) the­atri­cal re­lease.”

WIL­LIAM ROLLER PHOTO

Ac­tors of “Fu­ture World” ap­pear on the set at Baker Lake filmed by Dark Rab­bit Productions in Im­pe­rial on Wed­nes­day.

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