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Twisters Director Explains How Much of the Disaster Movie Is Based in Real Science

"We wanted the film to pay homage to science and research and conducting very big ideas out there,” Lee Isaac Chung said.

By James Grebey
Zombie Tornado

The highly anticipated summer blockbuster Twisters is, of course, a disaster movie. Like the original Twister from 1996, it’s about powerful tornados that lay waste to Oklahoma. However, Lee Isaac Chung, director of the upcoming July 19 release, says there’s an element of science-fiction to the movie as well, and that he hopes the movie will inspire science-fact. 

“In the original Twister, the idea of putting these Dorothy sensor balls into a tornado is completely science fiction, but it inspired a generation of people to want to do scientific research on storms,” Chung told The Hollywood Reporter, referring to Twister stars Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt’s attempt to study the behavior of these dangerous, unpredictable weather phenomenon. In Twisters, Daisy Edgar-Jones plays a scientist, Kate, who wants to use new, fictional technology to stop twisters in their tracks. 

“With this movie, the endeavor that Kate [Daisy Edgar-Jones] is on to see if she can disrupt the dynamics of a tornado, this is also based on a lot of science fiction,” Chung said. “We’re just theorizing, and it’s definitely not something we want people to be doing, but we wanted the film to pay homage to science and research and conducting very big ideas out there.”

RELATED: Everything to Know About the Twisters Cast: Glen Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones & More

A movie poster for Twisters

Chung, who previously directed the Oscar-nominated drama Minari and whose upbringing in Arkansas, in the thick of Tornado Alley, seeded his interest in Twisters, went on to explain that the film’s sci-fi technology wasn’t totally made up whole-cloth. 

“Our producers brought on Kevin Kelleher, who was the technical adviser on the original Twister,” he said. “Kevin worked with Mark and me on the subsequent drafts of the script, and he was in the room for VFX meetings and for all these discussions on, theoretically, how would we collapse a tornado? All of that is based on real science.”

RELATED: Where Was Twisters Filmed? Real-Life Tornado Season Impacted the Shoot 

In his interview with THR and in past press appearances, Chung has said that he wants Twisters to convey a sense of awe, majesty, and respect for the power of the natural world. Storms, like those in the movie, are getting worse because of climate change.

"I definitely didn’t want to be on a soapbox with this film,” Chung said of the film’s environmental message. “I just wanted to set audiences in the reality of what’s happening with tornadoes and tornado outbreaks these days, the unpredictability and the greater number of outbreaks that are actually happening right now. It’s all about making sure people are prepared, and there a lot of great people in Oklahoma who are keeping people safe. As long as we empower those people and really draw attention to the scientists, the meteorologists, the law enforcement, the Red Cross, all of these heroes on the front lines, I think we’re going to be in good shape.”

Twisters hits theaters on July 19. Get your tickets here!