In true time travel fashion, SYFY WIRE brings you an ominous glimpse of the near future with an exclusive clip from Amazon's The Tomorrow War. Landing on Prime Video this Friday, the film — directed by The Lego Batman Movie's Chris McKay — follows ex-military man Dan Forester (played by Chris Pratt) who is drafted into a temporal conflict against a horde of voracious alien invaders.
Our clip picks up shortly after Dan and his fellow soldiers (like Edwin Hodge's Dorian and Sam Richardson's Charlie) are transported 30 years into the future. They land in a devastated version of downtown Miami that is completely overrun with hungry aliens known as "White Spikes." With the Florida town a lost cause, the human resistance prepares to bomb the place to Kingdom Come.
Speaking with SYFY WIRE, McKay reveals that the scene was actually filmed in downtown Atlanta. "I thought I was really clear with the actors ahead of time that there was gonna be a lot of running in this movie," he says. "We had days and days of military training, we had a boot camp and stuff like that, but I think it didn’t really occur to everybody how much running and how long and how far people would be running until we shot [the scene]."
"We had a little Edge car so I could get people running at full speed and be pulling backwards as fast as possible because you can’t do this on a dolly or crane ... they don’t move fast enough," McKay explains. "So, we had the Edge, we had cameras on the side, we had the three cameras going and [had] actors run several blocks for a take. The biggest challenge of that was keeping everybody from blowing out their knees and blowing out their hamstrings, which happened to several people when we were doing that moment. If you watch carefully, you can see that Sam [Richardson] is limping a little bit. I think Chris survived, Edwin survived, but literally everybody else…one of the actors is a stunt-person and I guess he didn’t stretch out or something and he blew out his hamstring."
"We’re running from and jumping out of an explosion, essentially," Richardson says. "We filmed against a giant green screen backdrop, but 50-100 feet tall and 100 feet wide. They have us harnessed up, so we’re running and then at a point, you see the flash and then it yanks you up and you’re actually floating in the air. I have a video of it that I show my friends and I’m like, ‘I was in an action movie. Look at this…’ And everyone’s like, ‘WHOAAAA!’ So, I’m very proud of that."
Written by Zach Dean (Voyagers), the film also stars Omni-Man himself, J.K. Simmons, as Dan's estranger father, who may prove instrumental in rewriting the events yet to come. "J.K. was a dream," McKay adds. "J.K. is such a lovely human being and a real generous actor."
Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid's Tale) plays another key character, a brilliant military strategist who goes by the codename of Romeo Command.
"Yvonne’s game for anything. I can’t say enough good things about Yvonne," McKay says. "She’s so fun to work with and obviously a great actor. She is amazing and has such range and is so emotional. But she loves jumping out of helicopters. Anything that’s action, running around, getting rigged up — stuff like that — she can’t wait to do stuff like that, which is not what I expected ... If I said, ‘Hey, you wanna go up on this rig? Can we do another take?” she was so game to do any crazy thing. I was super impressed with her."
Betty Gilpin (GLOW), Jasmine Mathews (Heathers), Keith Powers (Before I Fall), Ryan Kiera Armstrong (Firestarter), Lynn Rajskub (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Mike Mitchell (Doughboys) round out the rest of the principal cast.
The Tomorrow War lands on Amazon Prime Video this coming Friday, July 2.