The Invasion (2007)


Introduction

The Invasion is a 2007 American science fiction horror film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, with additional scenes written by The Wachowskis and directed by James McTeigue, and starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.

The plot follows a Washington, D.C. psychiatrist (Kidman) who finds those around her turning into emotionless beings shortly after a major space shuttle crash.

The Invasion is the fourth film adaptation of the 1955 novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney, following Don Siegel’s 1956 film, Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake, and Abel Ferrara’s 1993 Body Snatchers.

The Body Snatchers TV series and film collection.

Outline

After the Space Shuttle Patriot crashes on Earth, a fungus-like alien lifeform is discovered on the remaining parts scattered widely over the United States. Once people are infected by the organism, and REM sleep occurs, the organism takes control. One of the first people infected is Tucker Kaufman, a CDC director investigating the crash.

Tucker’s ex-wife, psychiatrist Carol Bennell, begins to feel something is amiss when people seem to have “changed”. Her patient, Wendy Lenk (played by Veronica Cartwright, who appeared in the 1978 film version as Nancy Bellicec), describes how her husband “is not (her) husband”, and one of Carol’s son’s friends acts detached and emotionless.

At a neighborhood Halloween party, Carol’s son Oliver finds an unusual patch of “skin” on a partier, which is initially believed to be costume makeup. Carol speculates that the skin may be connected to reports of a fast-spreading flu. Carol takes the sample to her doctor friend Ben Driscoll to have it analysed.

That night, Ben and Carol attend a friendly dinner meeting between Russian diplomat Yorish and Czech diplomat Belicec (along with his wife Luddie). Carol and Yorish debate the violent nature of humans over caviar and champagne. Meanwhile, Tucker uses the CDC to spread the disease further, disguising the spores as flu vaccine.

Ben and Dr. Stephen Galeano, a biologist, discover how the spore takes over the brain during REM sleep. During this investigation, Luddie calls Ben, worried about Yorish’s behaviour. Driscoll and Galeano also find that people who had brain-affecting illnesses, such as encephalitis or ADEM, are immune to the spore because their previous illnesses prevent the spore from “latching on” to the brain matter. Carol’s son, Oliver, is immune to the spore because of the ADEM he had as a young child. Carol decides to get her son, who might show a way to a cure, back from Tucker. Before she drives to Tucker’s house, she joins Ben’s team who is called to the house of the Belicecs, the Czech ambassador and his wife, in a case of emergency. There they witness the transformation of Yorish (the Russian ambassador) and the Belicecs’ friend.

When Carol arrives at Tucker’s house, he and several colleagues close in on her. He explains that the changed humans, devoid of irrational emotions, are offering a better world, and asks her to join them. When Carol resists, Tucker holds her to the ground and infects her by spurting his saliva on her. She escapes and returns to Ben at the Belicecs’ house. They flee when Belicec returns with more transformed people intent on infecting anyone in the house.

Galeano and one of his assistants head to Fort Detrick near Baltimore where they and other scientists will attempt to find a cure for the virus. Carol and Ben separate to find Oliver, who texts his location, the apartment of Tucker’s mother, to Carol. Carol goes there and manages to spirit Oliver away, but is again pursued by Tucker, whom she has to kill to stop.

Carol arranges to meet up with Ben, but it takes awhile for him to show, and Carol almost falls asleep, but Oliver saves her. Ben arrives, but Carol finds he too has ‘converted’. He attempts to seduce her to give in to the new society that has no crime, war, or violence, but also frankly states that there is no room for people like Oliver who are immune. Carol shoots Ben in the leg and flees with Oliver. They are pursued, but finally she and Oliver are picked up by helicopter, and flown to the medical centre. A vaccine is created, inoculations are made world-wide, and within a year the alien virus is eliminated. Carol and Ben are together again, and society reverts to its normal emotional and violent ways.

Cast

  • Nicole Kidman as Dr. Carol Bennell.
  • Daniel Craig as Dr. Ben Driscoll.
  • Jeremy Northam as Tucker Kaufman.
  • Jackson Bond as Oliver.
  • Jeffrey Wright as Dr. Stephen Galeano.
  • Veronica Cartwright as Wendy Lenk.
  • Josef Sommer as Dr. Henryk Belicec.
  • Celia Weston as Ludmilla Belicec.
  • Roger Rees as Yorish Kagonavich.
  • Eric Benjamin as Gene.
  • Susan Floyd as Pam.
  • Stephanie Berry as Carly.
  • Alexis Raben as Jill.
  • Adam LeFevre as Richard Lenk.
  • Joanna Merlin as Joan Kaufman.
  • Malin Åkerman as Autumn (uncredited).
  • Jeff Wincott as Transit Cop.

Production

Conception

In March 2004, Warner Bros. hired screenwriter David Kajganich to write a script that would serve as a remake of the 1956 science fiction film Invasion of the Body Snatchers. In July 2005, director Oliver Hirschbiegel was attached to helm the project, with production to begin in Edgemere, Maryland. The following August, Nicole Kidman was cast to star in the film then titled Invasion, receiving a salary of close to $17 million. Invasion was based on the script by Kajganich, originally intended as a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but Kajganich crafted a different enough story for the studio to see the project as an original conception. Kajganich described the story to reflect contemporary times, saying, “You just have to look around our world today to see that power inspires nothing more than the desire to retain it and to eliminate anything that threatens it.” The screenwriter said that the story was set in Washington, D.C. to reflect the theme. In August, Daniel Craig was cast opposite Kidman in the lead. The film, whose original title Invasion of the Body Snatchers was shortened to Invasion due to Kajganich’s different concept, was changed once more to The Visiting so it would not be confused with ABC’s TV series Invasion (2005).

Filming

Filming began on 26 September 2005 in Baltimore and lasted 45 days. Filming also took place in Washington, D.C., including in the Cleveland Park Metro station, outside the Foggy Bottom–GWU Metro station, and in Dupont Circle. The film had minimal visual effects, with no need for greenscreen work. Instead, the director shot from odd camera angles and claustrophobic spaces to increase tension in the film. In October 2006, The Visiting changed to the title of The Invasion, due to the cancellation of the ABC TV series. The studio, however, was unhappy with Hirschbiegel’s results and hired The Wachowskis to rewrite the film and assist with additional shooting. The studio later hired director James McTeigue to perform re-shoots that would cost $10 million and for which McTeigue would not be credited. After 13 months of inactivity, re-shoots took place in January 2007 to increase action scenes and add a twist ending. The re-shoot lasted for 17 days in Los Angeles. During the re-shooting, Kidman was involved in an accident, while in a Jaguar that was being towed by a stunt driver and was taken to a hospital briefly. Kidman broke several ribs, but she was able to get back to work soon after being hospitalised.

Music

In May 2007, composer John Ottman recorded the musical score for The Invasion, using heavy synthesizers combined with a 77-piece orchestra intended to create “otherworldly foreboding and tension”. The music was also designed to have an avant-garde postmodern style, with atmospheric and thrilling action elements.

Release

The Invasion was originally intended to be released in June 2006, but it was postponed to 2007. The film was released on 17 August 2007 in the US and Canada in 2,776 theatres. The film grossed $5,951,409 over the opening weekend. The Invasion grossed $15,074,191 in the US and Canada and $24,727,542 in other territories for a worldwide gross of $40,170,558 as of 09 March 2008.

The music in the trailer is called “Untitled 8 (a.k.a. “Popplagið”)” by Sigur Rós.

Trivia

  • Development of the film began in 2004. Warner Bros. hired David Kajganich to write what was intended to be a remake of the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but Kajganich crafted a different story as an original conception and to reflect contemporary times.
  • Principal photography began in September 2005.
  • The film was released on 17 August 2007, and grossed $40.2 million against a $65-80 million budget.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Oliver Hirschbiegel and James McTeigue (uncredited).
  • Producer(s): Joel Silver.
  • Writer(s): David kajganich and The Wachowskis (uncrediteted).
  • Music: John Ottman.
  • Cinematography: Rainer Klausmann.
  • Editor(s): Joel Negron and Hans Funck.
  • Production: Village Roadshow Pictures, Silver Pictures, and Vertigo Entertainment.
  • Distributor(s): Warner Bros. Pictures.
  • Release Date: 17 August 2007.
  • Running Time: 99 minutes.
  • Rating: PG-13.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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