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STEALTH

About The Production
Over the past few years, writer/director Rob Cohen has been contemplating making a movie about Navy fighter pilots — but in a way that had never been seen on screen before. "I really thought there was a way to create an intense experience in the air,” says Cohen, "not dissimilar to the way I depicted drag racing in The Fast And The Furious or the avalanche in XXX.”

Cohen was also fascinated by a recent technological advance called Tergen (terrain generator), developed by Digital Domain, which would give him the ability to create virtual backgrounds. "So, if you want to fly over the mountains in Tajikistan, you dial up the real maps of those mountains,” he explains. "From there you can create the actual terrain and, once it's virtual, match it to whatever you want. Prior to Tergen, when you wanted to make an aircraft change its position in space, the background had to change its position exactly as well. That was very difficult to do. But now we can match the terrain to any move a jet might make, no matter how extreme.”

Thematically, Stealth is about war and technology, and just as importantly, according to Cohen, about technology being the child we have created and what can happen if that child surpasses us in ability. "What will be the consequences when computers become smarter, faster, more creative, self-generating and selfreplicating?” he asks. "If they have control of our energy, they have control of our communication systems and of our military systems. What happens when they decide, in their evolution, to exercise free will?”

The action in Stealth revolves around a prototype of a computer driven aircraft, known as "EDI” (Extreme Deep Invader). He's what the military refers to as a UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle). "In the film, we examine technology and what happens to the nature of war when the technical equation shifts because America has the ability to create a capable air force of smart drones, like "EDI.” This capability already exists in the present, so it's not science fiction. It's where we're heading. The Navy told me they will no longer be ordering jets for human pilots.”

In preparation for Stealth, Cohen worked on the designs for "EDI” and the Talons, the other naval jets used in the movie. "These are swing-wing, hypersonic fighter bombers with pulse detonation engines, which are on the naval drawing board but haven't been totally executed yet,” Cohen explains. Working with two senior designers at North Aviation, Cohen came up with the first prototype Talon. With his production designer, J. Michael Riva, and a team of industrial designers, they refined it and came up with a more "sexy” Talon, which would be flown by the three main pilots in the film (played by Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx).

They also created the unmanned "EDI.” "I wanted the Talons to be sculpturally very beautiful, as well as powerful,” says Cohen. "And I wanted "EDI” to be both cool and terrifying. I was extremely pleased with the final results.”

In order to fly both "EDI” and the Talons, Cohen needed a special gimbal, a device that allows an object – in this case a fighter jet – to incline at different angles in all directions. "In terms of our mechanical technology, we designed a gimbal the likes of which had not been seen before,” he says. "It weighs about 100 tons, has the ability to pull about five G's and can work on a very wide range of motion.”

Cohen was aided in designing the gimbal by John Frazier, the film's special effects expert. "John is a master with the mechanical – in this case, hydraulic work,” says Cohen. "He and a group of his engineers designed and built the gimbal in the U.S. then shipped it to Australia in pieces and re-built it there.”

According to Frazier, his work on the movie was broken up into two segments – the physical exp

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