Aliens on Earth: Stunts and Weapons
After the war to end all wars, the only remaining survivors on Earth (or so Jack has long believed) were the alien scavengers. These creatures were all played by stunt performers, and that necessitated that the alien costumes were both safe and functional. The masks began with the use of a simple, retrofitted flight cap, and from there various items were attached to maximize vision. Lights illuminated earpieces, while pieces of old cameras and plumbing parts went over the eyes of every costume. Each alien outfit was one of a kind.
For many of the action sequences involving the scavengers, a military advisor and retired Navy SEAL, DOUG MCQUARRIE, worked with the 10 hero alien stunt performers and the entire stunt department. McQuarrie ran an alien boot camp with these stuntmen, and one stuntwoman (ZOE BELL, who portrays Kara). Working with the weapons, McQuarrie would instruct the scavengers on how they might crawl, walk or run during a confrontation. McQuarrie did not hesitate to yell at his scavenger trainees, with such commands as "Look! Shoot! Kill!" motivating the stunt performers.
Kosinski and McQuarrie felt it was important that the scavengers move like indigenous people of the culture, and not in a militant way. McQuarrie offers: "The scavengers would do things in a little looser fashion. I worked with these talented and athletically gifted stunt players, giving them some basic military skills and a foundation, and from there we created a specific style together."
McQuarrie had previously worked as military advisor with Cruise on Jack Reacher, and their ease with one another was evident. After McQuarrie and Cruise had multiple discussions about how Jack would shoot, move and interact with others, they worked with the sophisticated weaponry created just for Oblivion. McQuarrie: "These are futuristic weapons, so we have to change movements and adapt to that to make it believable."
Also featured at Raven Rock was the aliens' sled, which they use to transport an unconscious Jack. Gilford explains that the initial item they needed to find was a platform, a working vehicle with which they could tinker. He relays: "We were looking for snowcats and other tread vehicles. We found a type of snowcat that had steering treads, so we bought one of those in Vermont. It was an old snowcat, and we brought it down here and started taking it apart. We used the drive train and the tread mechanism and started building the platform on top of it. Special effects guru MIKE MEINARDUS tore apart the snowcat for us and built the deck on the platform."
Meinardus and his crew created a tanklike vehicle complete with two operating MK machine guns, and a feed tray with 50 call bullets that are able to fire 100 rounds at once. The sled also featured an MK19 grenade launcher with 40 mm grenades. The turrets on the sled spun, and the hydraulics made it possible to go up and down and in all directions. This was a serious war machine.
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