The original “The Fog” included a bevy of scream queens and memorable character actors ranging from Jamie Lee Curtis and her mom Janet Leigh to the unforgettable sultry voiced DJ Adrienne Barbeau. Now for the currently shooting remake up in Vancouver, a sexy young cast has been added to the supernatural mix.
Among them the mysteriously sexy Selma Blair, “Smallville” megahunk Tom Welling and “Lost” blonde bombshell Maggie Grace will all be running for their lives from the swirling spirits out for blood. Together, along with Director Rupert Wainwright, the cast spoke about their work to a group of online press recently in Vancouver:
Question: What drew you to this role?
Tom Welling: Uh…
(Selma Blair motions to him as if to say it was her.)
Selma Blair: Jerk. He’s not good at the play along.
Tom Welling: What drew me to this role? I was a big fan of Rupert’s. The script was fun. I knew that visually, Rupert would bring a lot to it and I just found the script interesting so I wanted to do it.
Question: This question is for Tom. Obviously you had to fill some big shoes playing the role of Superman following Christopher Reeve, but I don’t know if you are quite aware of the cult status of Tom Atkins has in the horror genre. If you were aware of that at all.
Tom Welling: I wasn’t. John Carpenter started to talk to me about it one day.
Question: I was just wondering what the new Tom is going to bring to try and stand up to the old Tom.
Rupert Wainwright: Well I guess he would have to have a lot more acne for starts (laughs).
Selma Blair: What, he had acne?
Rupert Wainwright: (Sarcastically) What other movies was he in?
Question: Creepshow, Night of the Creeps, Escape from New York, Halloween III, Maniac Cop, Lethal Weapon…
Rupert Wainwright: Apart from those (laughs).
Tom Welling: This version of the Fog is updated. It’s more modern. The other one was great for what it was, but obviously as you can see from the people sitting here we have taken the ages of the other characters and divided them by two. This is younger, it’s quicker, and it’s a little bit edgier I think. All of us together are going to bring that to the film. The character he played isn’t anything we are modeling after its just taking its own direction.
Question: His character in the film was the chain smoking, hard drinking womanizer.
Tom Welling: Yeah that’s Father Malone in this film (laughs). Am I wrong?
Question: Selma, what happened to your face? (Selma has blood and bruises on her face which is part of her make-up for the role in the film.)
Selma Blair: One too many. I’m a drunk driving campaign. It was actually this is from Stevie’s accident. She gets in an accident. I’m a wordsmith, what can I say? In The Fog, she’s in the fog trying to save the son; “Get out of the fog, I’m coming home.”
Tom Welling: Car accident.
Selma Blair: Car, inside, stall, hit. I can’t talk about the rest. It’s too painful. Was I not supposed to say that Rupert?
Rupert Wainwright: No, no, no. It’s all good.
Maggie Grace: The absolute word.
Question: So she leaves the lighthouse in this version. What else has been ramped up a little bit in the new version?
Rupert Wainwright: Well, see, there’s a much more interesting escape, which she barely makes. A lot of this movie is really about the heritage of the town. Before, the journal was found in a church, so it’s centered around the church. In our version, one of the things that we really focus on is sort of the nexus of the past and the present, and how the past has come back to basically destroy the present because of what happened then. So the scene that we’re doing right now, which you can see, is in the town hall, which is kind of like a museum to all of the things that these townsfolk are so proud of. It’s a little like when you go to Monterrey or Carmel, it’s like all you ever hear is, “John stood there, and Fred stood there,” and “this toilet roll is precious because…” blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And you’re like, “For crying out loud!” That’s kind of what this island is like. But in fact, it’s hiding a horrible, horrible secret that eventually comes out during the course of the movie. Was that an answer?
Question: I have a question for Maggie. You play Elizabeth Williams in the film, a role that could essentially be attributed to Jamie Lee Curtis. Her character was sort of more of a scream queen than anything else. How are you different from Elizabeth in this version of The Fog? What have you taken from her, and which way are you departing from that role?
Maggie Grace: Well, as Tom said, it’s really a very different movie from the original. There are significant plot changes and really, the character comes into the story with a very different…she’s got a lot of unfinished business in town and history with Nick. So she’s very much more invested in the situation than before. She’s part of this. She is also descended from the perpetrators of the crimes of which you speak. So she’s implicated in a much greater way.
Question: Can you say what the unfinished business is?
Tom Welling: Oh, come on! It’s best you see the movie.
Maggie Grace: Yes.
Rupert Wainwright: She’s from the town. She’s left; she’s coming back to the town for a variety of different reasons. There’s a sort of deeper reality to her character, which eventually gets involved in the world of the town.
Question: When we walked into the stage down there, the first thing that I noticed was the smell…
Tom Welling: Oh, no.
Question: …of the fog.
Tom Welling: Oh (laughs).
Question: Have you guys had to breathe that stuff in the whole time? Has it been difficult?
Tom Welling: Yes. On different days, they put lavender, sometimes sage, and it helps…
Maggie Grace: Sometimes chemical drugs (laughs).
Tom Welling: …keep the mood on set. It’s Canada. There’s a lot of smoke. What can I tell you?
Selma Blair: That makes no sense. Canada is so clean.
Tom Welling: Vancouver.
Question: Has this been a problem or a frustration for you guys?
Selma Blair: You ain’t gonna catch me complaining! I’m a saint. Go ahead (laughs).
Tom Welling: Was that for me?
Question: Well, the three of you.
Selma Blair: Do you get a headache from the fog? Are you thinking of suing Sony? I think that’s what she seems to be getting at. Is The Fog scary on the real set? Yes.
Tom Welling: I don’t think we’re allowed to talk about that–with our contracts, right?
Selma Blair: Right.
Tom Welling: Right. That’s lawyer stuff.
Maggie Grace: Business affair.
Question: This is for Selma. In the original, your character doesn’t really interact with anyone else. How happy were you in this one that you seem to be doing more with everybody else?
Selma Blair: Yeah, that was a relief. When I saw the original right before I went into audition, she really was obviously very isolated. I really love having the energy of other people around me. That kind of gets me going, for better or for worse. But, you know, that’s what I’m used to and love. So I was really scared and intimidated just to be in a room by myself, talking on a microphone. I was very relieved to be working with the rest of the cast in some scenes. I wish we had more. I wish we had more scenes with these guys. But it’s great to have the kid.
Tom Welling: What’s his name?
Selma Blair: His name’s Cole, I hear. He plays Andy.
Question: In the original, you don’t save him.
Selma Blair: Oh, right. I don’t interact with him much in the original, right? You gotta see that movie (laughs).
Question: Who’s idea was it to go PG-13 on this film? Lately most of the remakes like Chainsaw, Dawn of the Dead, House of Wax, Amityville have all gone R and have been very successful. Was it your decision or Sony’s to go Pg-13 like their other films The Grudge or Boogeyman?
Rupert Wainwright: They had already decided that it was going to be PG-13 before I joined. The original is in many ways a haunted town story. It’s also basically a slasher movie. Guys come with big ass hooks that scare the living daylights out of you.
Question: So is it a challenge to make a big ass hook movie PG-13?
Rupert Wainwright: Beyond a challenge, yeah. There are a variety of other layers that work in the movie. A lot of scares, but there are a variety of other things that we can do now with CG fog. There is a whole bunch of other things we can use to make it scary, ominous and weird.
Tom Welling: And even things you don’t see, right?
Rupert Wainwright: Yeah, exactly.
Question: I mean, in the original movie, it wasn’t even that graphic. And yet, it was an R.
Rupert Wainwright: Yeah. It’s fairly graphic for a mainstream movie. But there’s a lot of just ice picks and eyeballs, and hooks right in grannies coming out of I don’t know what.
Question: There’s not much more you see really, it’s just more suggestive.
Rupert Wainwright: Right, right.
Question: But it still got an R.
Rupert Wainwright: Right.
Question: You seem to be indicating that there’s going to be a CGI element to the fog?
Rupert Wainwright: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Question: Like The Mummy?
Rupert Wainwright: Hopefully not at all like The Mummy. No, we’ve been shooting all practical fog so far. But there’s certain things that we have to sort of replicate. This scene, for example, when someone’s out on the beach and there’s a huge bank on the horizon. Well, unless you just sit there for a month and get lucky having the actors sitting there and just burning film, that’s not going to happen. There are certain things that the fog does that it just can’t do. There are a lot of times that we get the fog to do pretty weird stuff. And we give this to the CG guys and we go, “OK, take that. That’s how we’ll do it in this situation.” So in other situations, just copy that exactly.
Question: Going back to the PG-13 thing. These days, sort of the trend is a movie comes out on DVD and there’s the regular version, there’s the unrated version. Are you taking this into account now as you’re filming?
Rupert Wainwright: There’s a very hot scene between Selma and Maggie, which I’ve just done the most basic coverage on so far. But this evening, I’m going to go a little bit more…
Question: I have another question. With John Carpenter being involved in this as an executive producer, have you looked to him for any sort of guidance on doing the remake, or does he…
Rupert Wainwright: John didn’t really want to be that involved. I mean, I had a drink with him at Musso and Franks, and he goes, “It’s your movie now!” And that was basically it.
Question: Do you like that? Or would you have wanted more guidance from him?
Rupert Wainwright: I don’t think it was really an option.
Question: How did you feel about it?
Rupert Wainwright: I felt kind of relieved.
Question: This is for the three actors. How has this film been physically challenging?
Tom Welling: Last week, we did night shoots. We’d go to work when the sun goes down, and you’re home when the sun’s coming up. The good thing about that is you’re kind of going against rush hour traffic. The bad thing is you have this constant like jetlag feeling, in a sense. Even when we would go in, we would leave, Rupert’s still there before us and there. I don’t think he even went to sleep last week, did you?
Rupert Wainwright: I go to bed.
Tom Welling: Yeah. I mean, it was like that’s demanding on everyone, the crew, everyone. It’s difficult.
Question: But even in terms of action physicality, is this particularly grueling? There are a lot of fights.
Tom Welling: We had to move a bookcase today, DeRay and I.
Selma Blair: That was tough. Tom is so tall, and I had this scene where I had to kiss him on the cheek, so that was like really hard (laughs). So it’s been like really taxing, because I really wanted to kiss him on the cheek, but I just couldn’t like get up there. No, it’s been great. I know Maggie has a little underwater stuff…
Rupert Wainwright: Selma’s being modest. I’ll tell you about one of the scenes where her car is crashed into and it rolls down a cliff, and it falls into the water. She’s unconscious because the car rolled down the hill, and we go underwater with her. We don’t know if she’s dead or alive, or unconscious. So we had this car that was 20 foot underwater. We were like, “Well, I guess maybe we got like a few shots of her and we’ll do the rest of it with stunt guys.” It was sort of like a pop here and a pop there, but she was underwater non-stop, I guess, for like 11 hours the car, underwater, with no breathing thing. You know, with a stunt safety breathing person way off-camera with her stuck, with the water level rising, with her getting the last grasp of oxygen from underneath. We couldn’t believe it. We were like watching playback on set, going, “We can’t believe we’re doing this to her!” We felt terrible! But it was so cool; we kept on doing it to her.
Selma Blair: No, I really loved it. It was great fun. I had such a great safety team on this–on this movie, as there usually are on all movies. But they’ve been great.
Tom Welling: They did a great job today.
Rupert Wainwright: We should get a donut for our services.
Selma Blair: Maggie, you have a little bit of underwater stuff coming up, don’ t you?
Maggie Grace: Coming up, yeah. Going back from day to night and I’ve been shooting “Lost” for a while, as well, going back and forth from Hawaii to Vancouver and going from days to nights and back again.
Tom Welling: Now, Maggie’s being modest. The first day that we worked together was on a Saturday. And I worked on “Smallville” the night before. I get to the set that morning, so I’m like “I’m used to working like this.” She goes, “Yeah, I just flew in this morning.” And I’m like, “Really, from Hawaii?” and she’s says, “Yeah” I said, “So when do you go back?” She said, “Oh, in about three hours.” So she came in literally, for like the workday and left, and went back to Hawaii.
Maggie Grace: But I’m going to Hawaii, so who’s complaining. I’m like, “Yeah, Tom. I’m flying to Hawaii in three hours!”
Tom Welling: Rub it in!
Question: So the characters that Janet Leigh and Nancy Loomis played; are those characters not in this version? Or is someone playing those characters from the original film?
Rupert Wainwright: The Janet Leigh character is, she’s Maggie’s mother.
Question: What about the John Houseman character?
Rupert Wainwright: John Houseman character, no. Yes, what am I talking about? John Houseman in playing Macon. Yeah, the guy who’s doing the thing with the watch at the beginning. Yes, there is, absolutely. I’m getting him confused with Hal Holbrook. So yes, there is. Macon is in the movie. Father Malone is a much younger version of the Hal Holbrook character.
Question: There have been a lot of horror remakes coming out in the last couple of years. Having seen any of them, were there anything that you guys wanted to get right that the others didn’t?
Tom Welling: I haven’t seen any.
Selma Blair: You haven’t seen any horror movies?
Maggie Grace: Remakes.
Selma Blair: Remakes. I don’t know if I have either. Should have got someone else. This is so not my genre (laughs). That’s more of a Rupert question, I guess.
Rupert Wainwright: I was talking to a friend of mine. And he, “Oh, The Fog!” And I said, “Yeah.” He said, “I’ve always felt that was an excellent half a movie.” I nodded, because I didn’t want to look stupid and not get what this profoundly intellectual statement was, but it sort of buzzed around my head for a long time. I think that one of the things that you want to know more about at the end of the movie is, who are these guys? What really happened? All of those things that you’re sort of tantalized with and hinted about. By the end of the movie, it ends in this very sort of bizarre way with Adrienne Barbeau just going, “Well, something weird happened last night, and it could happen again any time. Over and out.” I don’t think we’re going to give you any more answers in this movie, but we’re going to get a lot more into that whole strange event in the past and how it affected the lives, and how basically how the island got cursed.
Question: How do you portray the story of what happened in the past? Is it just through character resuscitation or is there a flashback scene, or anything like that?
Rupert Wainwright: Yes, there’s a flashback to that whole event.
Maggie Grace: A big book opens up.
Rupert Wainwright: Exactly. The words come alive, they dance across the page.
Maggie Grace: The pictures start to move.
Rupert Wainwright: Yeah. As I said, you know, the elements from that past that literally start being washed up into present. So weird things start appearing. I feel like, “That’s odd. What’s this?” these things, more and more appear until it gets very strange, then you begin to realize that these two worlds are colliding.
Question: Just following up on that for the actors. When was the first time you guys actually know something’s going wrong in your town?
Tom Welling: When all the lights are out.
Maggie Grace: Really?
Tom Welling: I think that’s it. Where we come out. We out of the–
Maggie Grace: Because by then–
Rupert Wainwright: By then, you’ve seen Spooner on the Seagrass.
Tom Welling: Yeah, but I just know that something’s wrong with Spooner.
Maggie Grace: Well, I think a few of us have a few, almost kind of premonitions.
Selma Blair: Yeah, like the lighthouse with the burning brush. Not a burning bush, as Moses had (laughs).
Maggie Grace: But a few people were close to dying early on, so it’s a pretty big red flag there for me. It’s my character going, “Oh, yeah. My friends are dying”
Question: Rupert, I’d like to know what some of your favorite ghost movies are, and what some of your personal favorite supernatural haunting type movies are.
Rupert Wainwright: I like The Ring a lot. I think that was kind of an interesting…
Maggie Grace: Stigmata, Stigmata, Stigmata. My scariest movie.
Rupert Wainwright: It is, actually. It’s very specifically a ghost story. That’s one of the things you don’t realize what it is until the end. The entire movie is about a ghost who has a secret that wants to get that secret out and can’t. I think The Ring was good. You’re fooling around with this videotape and then, there’s the image, and what the fuck is that about? So it takes its time, you’re intrigued, you’re hooked. You’re like, “What is going on? Why are all these strange things happening?” I mean, I hope we can sort of dance in that area with this strangeness of The Fog being interesting in and of itself before you start to investigate. Before you start to really find out the answers of what causes it to be like that.
Question: Are you saying that with CGI and the fog, are you planning on having the fog actually shape into different things, or is it still going to be a naturalistic type of fog? Do you even know?
Tom Welling: It’s not all CGI fog. We did a sequence where we’re in the truck and this cloud of fog is coming toward us. Literally, the first time I saw it, it was like they’ve got some well-trained fog, because this thing came around the house, came at us. All of a sudden, I heard this thump. These three guys stood up with these lights on their chests and these fog machines. So I mean, they were inside the fog, but they can’t see. They were just taking steps, and they ran right into the truck.
Rupert Wainwright: There’s this great shot that we have when Spooner is on the back of the Seagrass and things have gone horribly wrong. Right on the edge, the fog was coming in. We just pan all the way over, and it’s just moving literally. It’s moving like a rowboat over the water and just comes along to the edge of the boat, comes right up over the edge of the boat and just starts creeping right into the boat. It was kind of like a snake or something.
Question: The original was pretty much just a straight ahead horror flick but one of the lines we heard today was, I guess Spooner was saying that, “I’m from Chicago’s South Side” which sounds like its kind of going for funny. So did we happen to catch one kind of funny line?
Rupert Wainwright: There’s one joke in the movie, yeah. And you just happened to be there. I’m only kidding. I can’t bear kind of fake laughs that are like thrown in. I have to say, DeRay is a comedian and he’s very funny. But what I’ve really been impressed with DeRay is he just wanted to come to set to be that character. And so he’s in character. Occasionally he’s funny, and when he’s not, it’s just great too, because you’re with him. Selma’s very funny.
Selma Blair: I’m not being funny. Was I supposed to be?
Rupert Wainwright: No, no, no. It’s how it’s supposed to be. It’s unintentionally funny. She was trying to act, and we just happened to cut.
Selma Blair: I don’t know what you’re talking about. (Ms. Blair reaches into blouse and removes a breast enhancement device, tossing it at Mr. Wainwright.)
Rupert Wainwright: That’s OK.
Selma Blair: I’m just speaking out for all flat-chested girls across America. I’m sorry, Tony.
Maggie Grace: You don’t know what it’s like until you get whacked in the cheek with one of those things.
Question: You know what that would go for on eBay?
Selma Blair: About a $1.50.
Question: I have a question for Selma and Maggie. You just said this is not your genre. So what is it that drew you to this role then?
Selma Blair: Uh–(laughs).
Tom Welling: You know what she has in the palm of her hands. (Simultaneous laughter as Ms. Blair puts breast enhancement device back into blouse.)
Maggie Grace: (Whispering) It’s Rupert.
Selma Blair: You know, I really think Stigmata was gorgeous, you know? I really thought it was really a stylish, beautiful film, though I didn’t see the whole thing. I read the script to The Fog and I actually thought there was a quiet same kind of stylish element that was there. I’m afraid of horror movies, but…I don’t know. I’m a fan of Tom’s, and now, Maggie. Wow, making friends! Any how see you guys later (laughs). What’s wrong? Are these not the right answers?
Question: Maggie, same question for you.
Maggie Grace: Well, Rupert has a really great pitch. I very much concur. Elizabeth, she’s quite well developed. I mean, I don’t want to generalize, but–
Selma Blair: Make me feel bad! (Referring to breast size.)
Maggie Grace: Some films in this genre sort of plunk down characters in a situation, and we’re expected to be really invested in what’s happening with them and not really knowing who they are. I liked that this script certainly made an effort to explain who these people were and why they cared about each other, and why we should care about them. It’s a starring female role, and you don’t come across that a lot, someone that actually gets involved, you know. Isn’t being dragged through horrific circumstances, crying all the time. She has to figure out what’s happening.
Tom Welling: But again, I’ve said this before. This is not the first time I’ve said this. Don’t let the title fool you. This movie is about the fog.
Question: We have time for one or two more questions.
Tom Welling: All right.
Question: Is the whole film going to be shot all on sets, or are there practical locations?
Rupert Wainwright: Oh, no. We’re all over the place. One of the main reasons why we came to Vancouver, is it’s got this great Pacific Northwest location. We’re on the big island of Vancouver. We’re on this little island called Bowen Island where we’re shooting a bunch of stuff. No, we’re using this place to the max.
Question: Yeah, my question is for Rupert. You said you came to the great Pacific Northwest. Obviously, the fog comes in even without you wanting it. Did the weather present any problems?
Rupert Wainwright: One of the problems that we have is that we have diminishing night hours.
Selma Blair: We got fogged in. The plane couldn’t land because of the fog.