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Filming

Akiva Goldsman decided to move the story from Los Angeles to New York City to take advantage of locations that would more easily show emptiness. Goldsman explained, "L.A. looks empty at three o'clock in the afternoon, but New York is never empty . . . it was a much more interesting way of showing the windswept emptiness of the world."

Warner Bros. initially rejected this idea because of the logistics, but Francis Lawrence was determined to shoot on location, to give the film a natural feel that would benefit from not shooting on soundstages. Lawrence went to the city with a camcorder, and filmed areas filled with crowds. Then, a special effects test was conducted to remove all those people.

The test had a powerful effect on studio executives. Michael Tadross convinced authorities to close busy areas such as the Grand Central Terminal viaduct, several blocks of Fifth Avenue and Washington Square Park. The film was shot primarily in the anamorphic format, with flashback scenes shot in Super 35.


Filming began on September 23, 2006. The Marcy Avenue Armory in Williamsburg was used for the interior of Neville's home, while Greenwich Village was used for the exterior. Other locations include the Tribeca section of Lower Manhattan, the aircraft carrier Intrepid, the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx and St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Weeds were imported from Florida and were strewn across locations to make the city look like it had overgrown with them. The closure of major streets was controversial with New Yorkers.

Will Smith said, "I don't think anyone's going to be able to do that in New York again anytime soon. People were not happy. That's the most middle fingers I've ever gotten in my career." A bridge scene was filmed for six consecutive nights in January on the Brooklyn Bridge to serve as a flashback scene in which New York's citizens evacuate the city.


Shooting the scene consumed $5 million of the film's reported $150 million budget, which was likely the most expensive shot in the city to date. The scene, which had to meet requirements from 14 government agencies, involved 250 crew members and 1,000 extras, including 160 National Guard members.

Also present were several Humvees, three Strykers, a 110-foot (34 m) cutter, a 41-foot (12 m) utility boat, and two 25-foot (7.6 m) Response Boat Small craft, as well as other vehicles including taxis, police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances. Filming concluded on March 31, 2007.

CGI was used to depict the main spans of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge collapsing as missiles from over passing military jets blew them up to quarantine Manhattan island. Reshoots were conducted around November 2007.

Lawrence noted, "We weren't seeing fully rendered shots until about a month ago. The movie starts to take on a whole other life. It's not until later that you can judge a movie as a whole and go, 'Huh, maybe we should shoot this little piece in the middle, or tweak this a little bit.' It just so happened that our re-shoots revolved around the end of the movie."


Effects

A week into filming, Francis felt the infected (referred to as "Dark Seekers" or "hemocytes" in the script), who were being portrayed by actors wearing prosthetics, were not convincing.

His decision to use computer-generated imagery (CGI) resulted in an increased budget and extended post-production, although the end results were not always well received. The concept behind the infected was that their adrenal glands were open all of the time

Lawrence explained, "They needed to have an abandon in their performance that you just can’t get out of people in the middle of the night when they’re barefoot. And their metabolisms are really spiked, so they’re constantly hyperventilating, which you can’t really get actors to do for a long time or they pass out."


The actors remained on set to provide motion capture. "The film's producers and sound people wanted the creatures in the movie to sound somewhat human, but not the standard," so Mike Patton, lead singer of Faith No More, was engaged to provide the screams and howls of the infected.

In addition, CGI was used for the lions and deer in the film, and to erase pedestrians in shots of New York. Workers visible in windows, spectators and moving cars in the distance were all removed.

In his vision of an empty New York, Lawrence cited John Ford as his influence: "We didn't want to make an apocalyptic movie where the landscape felt apocalyptic. A lot of the movie takes place on a beautiful day. There's something magical about the empty city as opposed to dark and scary that was the ideal that the cast and crew wanted."


Alternate Ending

Several scenes were changed before the film's release, especially the stand-off between Neville and the infected in his laboratory. In the ending, the alpha male makes a butterfly-shaped smear on the glass.

Neville realizes that the alpha male is identifying the woman he was experimenting on by a butterfly tattoo, and the alpha male wants her back. Neville puts his gun down and returns the infected woman.

Neville and the alpha male both stare each other down; Neville apologizes to the Darkseekers; the alpha male accepts his apology, and the infected leave. Shocked by the ordeal, Neville sits down for a moment in his laboratory.


Looking over the pictures of his numerous test subjects, the implications of his research methods begin to dawn on him. The final shot follows Neville, Anna, and Ethan as they drive away towards the survivor's camp in Vermont with the antidote.

According to visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs: "At that point, Neville's — and the audience's — assumptions about the nature of these creatures are shown to be incorrect. We see that they have actually retained some of their humanity. There is a very important moment between the alpha male and Neville."


Release

I Am Legend was originally slated for a November 21, 2007 release in the United States and Canada, but was delayed to December 14, 2007. The film opened on December 26, 2007 in the United Kingdom, and Ireland having been originally scheduled for January 4, 2008.

In December 2007, China banned the release of American films in the country, which is believed to have delayed the release of I Am Legend. Will Smith spoke to the chairman of China Film Group about securing a release date, later explaining, "We struggled very, very hard to try to get it to work out, but there are only a certain amount of foreign films that are allowed in."

Premieres were held in Tokyo, New York and London. At the London premiere in Leicester Square, British comedian and actor Neg Dupree was arrested after pushing his way onto the red carpet and running around shouting 'I am Legend!'. The stunt was part of his 'Neg's Urban Sports' section of comedy game show Balls of Steel.


A tie-in comic from DC Comics and Vertigo Comics has been created, I Am Legend: Awakening. The project draws upon collaboration from Bill Sienkiewicz, screenwriter Mark Protosevich, and author Orson Scott Card. The son of the original book's author, Richard Christian Matheson, also collaborated on the project.

The project will advance from the comic to an online format in which animated featurettes (created by the team from Broken Saints) will be shown on the official website.

In October 2007, Warner Bros. Pictures in conjunction with the Electric Sheep Company launched the online multiplayer game I Am Legend: Survival in the virtual world Second Life.


The game is the largest launched in the virtual world in support of a film release, permitting people to play against each other as the infected or the uninfected across a replicated 60 acres (240,000 m2) of New York City. The studio also hired the ad agency Crew Creative to develop a website that would be specifically viewable on the iPhone.

I Am Legend grossed $77,211,321 on its opening weekend in 3,606 theaters, averaging $21,412 per venue, and placing it at the top of the box office. This set a record for highest grossing opening for a film for the month of December.

The film grossed $256,393,010 in North America and a total of $585,349,010 worldwide. The film was the sixth highest grossing film of 2007 in North America, and as of April 2014 it still stands among the top 100 all-time highest grossing films both domestically and worldwide (unadjusted for ticket price inflation).




Resources: wikipedia.org, imdb.com





I am Legend 2007 - Plot & Screenshots

Dr. Krippen (Emma Thompson) is interviewed on TV about her great discovery: she has changed the measles virus genetically so that it attacks cancerous cells. She explains that all the cancer patients, which her cure has been tested on, have recovered so far.


The scene jumps to three years later. We see New York City has become an empty and desolate place, devoid of human life. Grass covers roads and buildings, abandoned cars line the highways and the city is silent. It seems that apocalypse has arrived.


Robert Neville (Will Smith) is driving through the deserted city accompanied by Sam, his dog. A herd of deer leap across his path and he follows them, giving chase in his Mustang. He tries to shoot them and we realise it's a hunt. The deer split up and run down a road blocked with abandoned cars. Neville gives chase on foot, trying to hunt one deer down.


As he rounds a corner he gets the deer in his gun sights only to be beaten to the kill by a lion, presumably escaped from the NYC zoo. Robert is seemingly torn as to whether to shoot the lion and its family, who also enter the scene. At this point Robert's watch alarm starts beeping and he leaves, taking Sam with him. He leaves without firing the gun.


We see Neville's home, it is the typical American detached house, but it looks as though it were in the middle of a war zone. Robert and Sam have a seemingly normal evening, eating processed food and watching TV. After a bath, Neville shuts, locks and protects every door and window with massive steel shutters. He sleeps close to Sam.


He dreams of how Zoe (Salli Richardson), his now-late wife and their now-late child Marley (Willow Smith), and Sam the dog as a puppy, try to leave New York. We see Robert dressed in a military uniform: he decides to stay in New York on his own in order to try to stop the virus, as he is a military doctor. They tell Marley they are going on holiday.


The dream scene is interrupted by Neville waking to once again face his lonely reality. At his fortress-like home, Robert exercises and goes down to the basement, where he keeps a small but hi-tech laboratory. We see that he has been experimenting with a vaccine / cure for the virus that has apparently wiped out most of the human race. He's tried the plague virus in some mice in order to find a vaccine.


All the mice look incredibly aggressive, except for one. Robert will have to inject the blood of that mouse into a human victim of the virus to see if they revert back to regain their normal human life. characteristics. Later, Robert goes to a video-rental store where he talks to the mannequins, his only form of contact with the human form. It seems he has created a game for himself to prevent madness from taking him.


He later visits some condo flats nearby, watching sadly the remains of the people who used to live there. We see the pain in his eyes as he empathises with the loss of loved ones. Later, we hear the radio message Neville has created and plays over all AM radio frequencies. It says that he's alive, and that he'll be waiting for more survivors at the docks of the bay at midday everyday.


Sam spots a deer again, so Robert and Sam go after it. The deer runs into an old building below ground level, and Sam goes after it, although Robert has tried to hold Sam back. Robert enters the building as Sam will not return of his own accord. Carefully, Robert searches the darkened rooms. He finds the corpse of the deer and Sam, hiding down in a hole.


Robert has to shoot one of the virus infected who appears to be a mutated, rage filled monster. Both Sam and Robert start running away through the building. Some more of the infected appear and chase them. He fights them all and both are able to get out of the building. The leader of the infected (Dash Mihok) cannot run after them because there is daylight outside.


We realise that they cannot be exposed to the sun as their skin burns. Soon afterwards, Robert sets a trap to catch one of the virus monsters. He succeeds and takes the female infected (Joanna Numata) home, to his lab. He tries the cure he's hopeful for, but it fails. He revives her and continues to adapt his serums in the hope of finding a cure.


That night, he dreams of the past, when his wife and child try tried to leave New York in the chaos of its evacuation. He relives the panic and terror on the streets as the citizens of the city try to escape before the virus-mutants take control. Neville wakes again, with a deeply sad face.


The next morning, he remembers it's his birthday. When he goes to the video store, he finds his mannequins have been moved. During the night the infected have set the same trap he organized for them the previous day. Neville is caught by the trap and passes out.


When he wakes up, he is badly hurt, hanging upside down and bleeding. Sam is faithfully waiting for him. He sets himself free finally just as dusk falls, but his leg gets badly cut with his knife. The infected appear with infected dogs, but Sam defends Robert, who succeeds in crawling back to the safety of his car dragging a badly injured Sam with him.


When he gets home he puts Sam on the surgery table, but he realises that she has been bitten and will become one of the infected soon, so he is forced to kill her by breaking her neck. Tears stream down his cheeks as he says goodbye to his only friend.


In a grief stricken rage he decides to fight all the infected face-to-face. He drives his car at speed into the hoards of infected who roam the streets at night. He crashes and the infected overpower the vehicle. Just as he is about to die, a bright light shines on him and he blacks out.


He wakes up in his house where a boy is watching Shrek. While sleeping, he has dreamt about the past once more. This time he's dreamt of the helicopter his wife and child used to escape New York. As it takes off, it crashes and his loved ones are both killed.


The people who rescued him are Anna (Alice Braga) and her son Ethan (Charlie Tahan), who have heard Robert's radio message while passing through the city. Anna wants to go to New York, and a human haven somewhere.


Robert, however now insists that he wants to be left alone and he doesn't believe that such a place exists. Later that evening, Robert realizes that the infected are attacking the house. The previous night, they had followed Anna back when she rescued Robert. Robert's home defenses are formidable and take out several of the infected.


But the infected are so great in number they breach the shutters and make their way into the house. Robert, Anna, and Ethan retreat to the basement lab. During the hectic fight, Robert has time to realize that the infected female he had captured earlier and tested the virus vaccine on, has come back to her human form.


He takes a sample of her blood in a syringe and gives it to Anna, telling her to leave through a small trap-door with Ethan. Robert stays back to kill as many of the infected as he can, blowing them to pieces along with himself, including the vicious alpha-vampire who has made a personal quest out of hunting Robert down.


Anna and Ethan reach a strange place in the middle of the countryside: the road is cut by a castle-like wall and a steel door. There, some human survivors live in that enclosed community. Anna gives the syringe with the antidote to the human leader of that small community and her voice over tells us of the legend that Robert Neville has become.




Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Main

1916 to 1964

1965 to 1981

1995 to 1998

2004 to 2008

2009 to 2010

2011 to Present



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