By Kevin Hudec
By Kevin Hudec
The most inspiring part about “I Am Legend” is that Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t the lead actor. When the film was originally announced in 1994, the Governor of California had agreed to the job with director Ridley Scott behind the camera.
Warner Brothers pulled the plug on this obvious train-wreck to revamp the script so that it didn’t cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
Then after the new director, Francis Lawrence (“Constantine”), was picked they decided to go ahead and throw all the money they could at the film spending $5 million dollars for one scene on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Lawrence evidently made a great impression with the producers of the film because his only other movie is “Constantine” and yet he managed to convince them to move the shooting to New York instead of California, spend more money on one scene than has ever been spent in New York, hire Will Smith, one of the hottest and highest paid actors around, and to use computer-generated images not only for the wild animals in New York, but the masses of infected people that Smith’s character, Robert Neville, must fight as well resulting in an end budget of over $150 million.
Neville, the protagonist of the film, may be the only survivor of a biologic epidemic which the company he worked with was responsible for creating.
Consequently, he feels accountable and has dedicated the three years since the epidemic began to trying to find a cure.
Using his own immune blood he finds that two percent of the population was immune to the disease, however the infected became cannibalistic and have destroyed most of the surviving humans.
This is one of the hottest releases this year and has quite a few tie-ins including a first-person shooter video game hosted by the online phenomenon “Second Life” and an online comic.
“I Am Legend” is based on the book with the same title by Richard Matheson released in 1954 which has seen three film adaptations to date; 1964’s “The Last Man On Earth”, 1971’s “The Omega Man” and 2007’s straight to film adaptation “I Am Omega.”
“I Am Legend” promises to be the most expensive and entertaining albeit least faithful adaptations of the book.