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THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

About The Production
In INDEPENDENCE DAY Roland Emmerich brought you the near destruction of the earth by aliens. Now, in THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW the enemy is an even more devastating force: nature itself.

"It's an epic tale of survival and heroism with non-stop action and spectacular visual effects,” says producer Mark Gordon. "This movie definitely delivers the kind of visual punch audiences expect from Roland Emmerich.”

Although Emmerich's brand of spectacle is integral to telling the story, he says the movie is not void of the human element. "No matter how big the effects are,” says Emmerich, "the heart of the movie is still human drama. The father and son characters played by Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal are vulnerable, conflicted and loving. That's what makes their struggle against this incredible force of nature so exciting. It's the universal struggle of Man against Nature. It's survival against the odds. Ultimately, it's the triumph of the human spirit.”  

"Fundamentally, this is a drama about ordinary people who find themselves struggling through extraordinary circumstances,” says co-screenwriter Jeffrey Nachmanoff. "It's about a family trying to survive this ecological disaster. Each family member must rise to the occasion. A young man becomes a leader; a workaholic father braves everything to save his son; and a mother chooses to risk her own life to save that of a little boy. It's a story about love, suffering and mankind's perennial struggle to survive.  

"And it's a cautionary tale about what can happen if we continue to provoke Mother Nature.”

Twentieth Century Fox's 1996 blockbuster INDEPENDENCE DAY was pure science fiction; it was not based on a widely held belief that an alien invasion was imminent. But THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW offers a scenario that is rooted in real concerns about the state of our planet. "We pushed the time period in which an ice age could occur for dramatic purposes,” says Mark Gordon, "but the theory that global warming could cause an abrupt climate shift is gaining mainstream attention. While nobody knows what the exact result will be of mankind's addition of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, some experts have referred to it as ‘the largest uncontrolled scientific experiment in history.'”

Call it irony or coincidence but during the course of making the film, a series of extreme weather events worldwide contributed to the growing body of evidence that climate change is already underway.

In July 2002, during pre-production, a deadly hailstorm struck central China. The hailstones were the size of eggs and the storm killed 25 people and left numerous victims with near fatal head wounds. The storm uprooted trees, smashed car windshields, caused major power outages and destroyed some buildings in the northern parts of the Henan province.

The following month, parts of Europe were ravaged by what became known there as the "Floods of the Century.” For almost three weeks, torrential rains battered the regions, flooding London's subway system, decimating vineyards and olive groves in northern Italy and sweeping away tourists on Russia's Black Sea coast. At least 108 people were killed and tens of thousands had to be evacuated. In November, just three days after principal photography began in Montreal, a major outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes occurred in the United States. A total of 75 tornadoes touched down in one day, killing 36 people and causing damage in thirteen states. Additionally, the production suffered through four months of what would become one of Montreal's coldest winters on record, with daytime temperatures topping out at minus 25oC on numerous occasions.

In an even more eerie example of life imitating art, the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica fell into the sea in March 2002, a few weeks after Emmerich and Nachmanoff had written a scene describing its collapse.<

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