Five Reasons to See Into the Storm, Including Firenados and Storm Porn
Chances are you've caught the trailers for the upcoming Into the Storm, the latest summer action extravaganza from Warner Bros. that promises "holy-shit-we're-gonna-die" scenarios, frighteningly realistic, apocalyptic visuals and the obligatory storm-chasing characters who seem to relish driving into certain cyclonic murder in a small Oklahoma town.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. You've got your garden variety tornados, and then you've got "firenados."
You wouldn't be blamed for filing it under "popcorn flick," and screenwriter John Swetnam would have it no other way. But further investigation reveals a well-researched tale with heart. And Swetnam, who's based in Los Angeles (where the rare rainfall becomes literally breaking TV news), wants Houstonians who know a bit about storms to know that he actually did his homework to create Storm. Just back from his new film's New York city premiere, and currently in pre-production for Breaking Through, a dance movie he's directing for crooner John Legend, Swetnam helps us dissect his perfect Storm with the kind of refreshing real talk that we wish everyone in Hollywood would employ.
5. Sharknados? Puh-leese! Firenados are a thing
"There's a scene in Into the Storm where this tornado made of fire appears and does this crazy stuff," recalls Swetnam. "Initially, everyone who read that part was like, 'Man, this writer is a fucking idiot. This is silly. That's impossible.'" Undaunted, Swetnam went online, found pictures of a real "firenado" and put it the script. Not only did he educate the general public on this (awesome) phenomenon, but he also got to fire back at his Twitter haters. "I tell them, 'Okay, go to YouTube, type in 'fire tornado' and you'll see like four or five videos right there."
Disaster arguments aside, Swetnam may have just stumbled onto the next big 'nado craze. Maybe a formulaic Firenado, perhaps starring former 90210 star Luke Perry, a la Ian Ziering in Sharknado?
"Dude," says Swetnam, "I would write the shit out of that."
4. For the climate change and storm chaser crowd, this movie is essentially porn
Courtesy of John Swetnam/Madhorse Films John Swetnam
More than just a new-fangled Twister, Swetnam's Into the Storm is an homage to the YouTube generation. He had just penned Evidence, a found footage/POV movie, when LA producer Todd Garner, who had seen the script for Evidence, contacted Swetnam with an idea: an updated tornado movie, with a POV/found footage feel. "He approached me with those two words--and I immediately knew what to do."
Perpetual 80-degree SoCal weather didn't hinder Swetnam, as he drew inspiration from his hometown. "Before LA, I lived in Tennessee for years," he says. "We had tornadoes, and tornado warnings were constant--it felt like there was more and more every year. And I lived in Japan, where we had typhoons. I still have friends in Tennessee who call me when there are tornado warnings, and they have friends who've suffered terrible damage from them. It's just a part of life there." Polar vortexes, snow in Vietnam, and other recent bizarre worldwide weather patterns helped, too. "I'm not here to preach, but you can't deny something's happening," he says. "I don't address climate change in this movie per se, but it does suggest that maybe this could happen."
This story continues on the next page.