Behind the scenes of Geostorm

01 Dec 2017

In Geostorm a complex satellite system known as Dutch Boy, has been put in place to control Earth’s ever-worsening weather conditions, but something – or someone – has hijacked the system, causing a storm of huge proportions. It’s a movie where actors, costumes and sets all needed to combine to deliver the right result, so join us as we take a look behind-the-scenes of this action adventure.

Gerard Butler in Geostorm

Character dynamics

Gerard Butler (Rock’n’Rolla, 300) plays protagonist Jake Lawson – the creator of Dutch Boy who’s called back to help when it all goes wrong and gets caught up in the political games. “I loved the central elements of it as a big action film and a suspenseful thriller with a lot of humour, but also that it looked at the strained relationship between my character and his brother”, he recalls. “Max is someone who thinks his way out of things while Jake prefers to punch his way out.”

“He’s a bit of a whiz kid, unconventional, a hothead and a lost soul – it was a nice challenge to take him on, especially in the middle of all this intense action.”

It’s a sentiment that’s shared by Jim Sturgess, who plays Jake’s younger brother and boss, Max Lawson. Sturgess was enticed by the script’s dichotomy between the estranged siblings forced together by circumstances, commenting that “it was clear that there were these two really strong personalities clashing in the middle of this space adventure mixed with a dramatic political plot on the ground – two very dissimilar men having to work together to solve a problem, or risk losing everything.”

Lifelike sets

Much of Geostorm’s action takes place in the international space station (ISS), devised by production designer Kirk Petruccelli. He worked with NASA to closely replicate the real deal, explaining “there were nine massive ISS sets on the film, with a total of 72 major parts to them.”

Filmed at five adjoining soundstages at New Orleans’ Big Easy Studios, the city also doubled for Washington, Tokyo, Moscow, Dubai, Orlando, Florida, Rio de Janero and Mumbai. Its U.S. Custom House even became the White House’s West Wing.

Director Dean Devlin adds the maze-like set was “larger than an aircraft carrier and really gave you a sense of what it might be like for up to 5,000 people to be up there, isolated, for months at a time.”

GERARD BUTLER as Jake Lawson in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Skydance's suspense thriller "GEOSTORM," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Inspiring costumes

As with the sets, the filmmakers wanted the space costumes to be as life-like as possible, working closely with Global Effects in Los Angeles to produce replica NASA spacesuits. Although lighter than the real thing, they were nearly a quarter of the actors’ own body weight. “We were hanging in the air with all kinds of harnesses and rigs, but you have to stay completely relaxed since you’re supposed to be weightless" recalls Butler. "It’s exceptionally uncomfortable to do — but it looks incredible on screen!”

Alexandra Maria Lara, who plays International Space Station: Shuttle Commander Ute Fassbinder, explains the importance of hair, makeup and costumes in helping her relate to the character. “All these things help take me out of my own reality and to jump into someone else’s skin, and were important for me to find the right tone for Ute.”

Director Dean Devlin, who also wrote and produced Independence Day, sums up what he wanted to achieve with the film. “Hopefully, we’ll take audiences on a rollercoaster ride across the planet and off into space, and leave them having had a fantastic time, and maybe just a bit more curious about the world around them.”

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