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THE CORE

Science And Fiction
Scientists. including Albert Einstein, have puzzled over the Earth's magnetic field for decades, and Einstein himself acknowledged that it presents "one of the most important problems in physics." Dr. Sten Odenwald. a Harvard Ph.D. in Astronomy concurs. "If the magnetic field of the earth suddenly changed. and this does happen naturally every 250,000 years or so. the consequences would be fascinating," says Odenwald. "Already geophysicists have begun to notice a decline in the strength of the earth's magnetic field. We don't really know if the decline is just a natural ripple, or the portent of something far more sinister.

In fact, it is this very unknown aspect of the film's subject that makes "The Core" not just another science fiction movie. Says producer David Foster: "We've seen sea adventures and space odysseys, but traveling into the core of the earth is largely unexplored territory."

Though inspired by both real and extrapolated science, "The Core" is ultimately driven by imagination. As director Jon Amiel points out. "Even the scientists can only speculate what's down there. They beam sound waves into the earth, and by the ways in which those sound waves are refracted, they can guess that there is an outer liquid core and an inner solid core of nickel and iron. But nobody knows for sure. Basically. the film is science faction: a good dollop of science, a considerable amount of fact and a wee bit of fiction!"

Something else that scientists don't know for sure is whether the earth's core would ever cease to function. Intense controversy still swirls around the core of our planet. Is the heat that it generates a product of cooling nickel and iron, or is there, as one theory suggests. a giant five-mile wide nuclear reactor of plutonium and uranium burning below us? Why do the magnetic poles seem to shift every quarter-of-a-million years or so?

"We used to think that space was the last frontier," says Amiel. "but there are actually enormous and unfathomable mysteries just a couple of thousand miles below our feet. One of the questions I think the movie asks, in a very interesting way, is what if von, an ordinary person, were thrown into a situation like this? Would you be a hero? What strengths would you bring to the task and what strengths might you be surprised to discover?"

Attracted to the character-driven aspects of the film as well as the provocative questions it evokes, "The Core" drew an exciting list of cast members, all proud to play heroes who risk their lives for mankind.

"This is a movie about a very special team of people on a mission to save the earth," says Aaron Eckhart. "I think that's very unique."

Hilary Swank couldn't agree more. "This movie tackles an interesting concept from a human point of view," she says. "It really gets to the heart of what this planet means to us.

"Jon Amiel really wants the audience to care about the people," observes Delroy Lindo. "He has a very well-placed concern that the special effects in the film not override the human beings in the story.

Keeping the action tense and exciting, while at the same time exploring the dynamics of the crew inside the ship, is definitely of primary importance to Amiel.

"Character conflict is the stuff of all good drama," says the director. "You take this unlikely group of people Next Production Note Section

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