Dwayne Johnson will battle Jason Statham in next year’s Furious 7 and will take on Mother Nature not long thereafter, in the 3D natural disaster action/thriller, San Andreas. The first trailer for the latter project drops tomorrow, but ahead of then we can offer a sneak peek at the film – one which reunited Johnson with his Journey 2: The Mysterious Island director, Brad Peyton.
Johnson is headlining San Andreas as Ray, a California-based rescue helicopter pilot who races against time to reunite with his ex-wife and daughter, when a long-awaited major earthquake finally strikes Los Angeles – and with a vengeance. Carla Gugino (Watchmen, Sucker Punch) plays Johnson’s ex, Emma, while Alexandra Daddario (of Percy Jackson and True Detective fame) portrays their daughter, Blake, who’s in San Francisco when the catastrophic earthquake happens.
Johnson, on a few occasions in the past, has indicated that San Andreas is very much meant to be a Spielbergian blending of blockbuster spectacle/action with broken-family melodrama; something that explains the hiring of screenwriter brothers Carey and Chad Hayes, whose script for The Conjuring was likewise a family drama by way of a genre feature (in that case, a supernatural horror/thriller). San Andreas will thus be a balancing act of human drama and action; that includes, lots of vehicular stunts, as Johnson promised during an interview with USA Today:
“There’s nothing that I don’t pilot or drive. We utilize everything we can to get there. This has big stakes. It’s entertaining and also has heart.”
Peyton has likewise talked up the 3D natural disaster spectacle in San Andreas, telling USA Today “We’re going to show what the largest earthquake ever recorded would look like, all in a highly populated area.” The film’s science was informed by consultant Tom Jordan, the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center; that is to say, the film’s depiction of LA being leveled might be a tad more “realistic” than, say, that in Roland Emmerich’s 2012 (perhaps the most recent example).
Check out the first official stills and production photos from San Andreas, below:
Pictured above is John performing one of his multiple practical stunts in San Andreas; as Johnson put it, “That’s me rappelling from my helo for the big cliff scene, saving a young woman trapped in her vehicle.” That’s starting to approach Tom Cruise levels of commitment for an actor performing their own death-defying stunts, at that.
Johnson’s new collaboration with Peyton, by the sound of it, appears poised to offer a similarly fun ride, but perhaps somewhat less digital artifice than Journey 2 featured; at the same time, though, the film will probably play closer to Twister meets a Fast and the Furious installment, rather than a Spielberg-style “high art blockbuster”. That sort of hammy fun is what many people should be in the mood for, when the Memorial Day frame rolls around next year.
San Andreas opens in U.S. theaters on May 29th, 2015; check back here tomorrow, for the first trailer!