Exclusive: 'I Am Number Four' Director DJ Caruso Talks About Movie Making With iPads
When Alex Pettyfer and 'I Am Number Four' director DJ Caruso visited the Apple store in Soho, NYC it didn't come as a surprise to us, we witnessed first-hand how much everyone loved the iPad when we were on the film's set back in July.
From the actors like Dianna Agron and Callan McAuliffe using them between takes (Callan practiced the piano on his), to crew members were using the Apple device during takes, we couldn't help but notice that the iPad has worked its way into the movie making process.
David Lee, our gaffer, and I got ours first," Caruso told us. "I got it, I don't want to say as a toy, but then I realized about a week into prep that my storyboards were coming on it, my previs was on it, my script was on it, I don't carry my script anymore. I started getting emails from two of my storyboard artists who work in Los Angeles and I have this application where I can mark up the boards -- I'm a terrible drawer -- and I can mark up the boards and send them back. It just became this amazing production tool."
The iPad actually helped create a major component of the movie. Pettyfer's character John Smith, an alien, discovers during the film he has several supernatural powers. One of those powers is that he can control light through his hands. During filming, Alex wore a flashlight-like contraption wired up through his jacket and it was activated... by an iPad off screen.
"Our gaffer, we have this lumen that's on Number Four's hand, he controls the lumen, he controls the lighting and everything is run from his iPad."
"Everyone's starting to get an iPad," DJ continued. "Then I noticed the actors all got theirs, Callan had his right away because he was playing video games. But they all started it get them. It's just become part of our cinematic culture. It's really is an amazing tool. It's amazing. I never thought I'd say that, I thought it would be cool to get one, but I don't even carry my script anymore. All I carry is my iPad."
The movie began shooting less than three month's after the iPad was released, making 'I Am Number Four' on of the first movies to use it in filmmaking. That's historic, people! We had to ask him what he thought of possibly being one of the first film crews to use the iPad.
"Well I think people who are making movies now, I can't imagine they're not doing it [using the iPad] because, I've got to tell you, I've got every previz thing on there, I have every storyboard on there, I have every script and every script note," he said. "I make my shot list on there and from that shot list I just send it... it's become an amazing tool and I never would have thought it would have kicked in that fast. In fact, I talked to Steven, because I was sending him something from my iPad and he sent something back from his iPad and I thought, 'Oh you got one!' and he's like, 'Yeah.' and I told him all these things I was using and he was like, 'Which apps do you have?' so here you are sending back which apps you have to Steven Spielberg. everyone's starting to use it because it really is an amazing tool."
DJ also told us that he uses the iPad to scout locations for outdoor shoots: 'We shot a scene towards the end of this movie at this chruch out in the middle of the farmlands the other day and we were out there on location and I took my suntracker and it told me at what time the sun would be [in the sky] so I planned everything around where the sun would be at that location - it gives you a satellite image. By the way, that app cost 99 cents. It was in the photography section... I just happened to be in there."
How awesome is that? We're pretty sure the scene he's referring to is the one pictured below.
Watch DJ talk about Alex Pettyfer
As for the iPad making an appearance in the movie, a scene was filmed, but later cut. "The mog commander is very fascinated with this planet and he does have an iPad in one of the scenes in his car and he's bascially looking at somethings on YouTube and trying to mimic what he's seeing on YouTube." The iPhone is featured quite a bit in the film though. Alex's character has one and the movie's official app even centers around helping him recover his lost iphone.
'I Am Number Four' hits theaters today, Feb 18. Click here for theaters and showtimes.