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Look out for more coverage of
I Am Legend in our magazines

THE MOVIE: I Am Legend

THE STARS:
Will Smith • Alice Brag
DIRECTOR: Francis Lawrence

Poster artwork THE CONCEPT:
Brilliant scientist Robert Neville (Smith) is somehow immune to an incurable man-made virus. Neville is now the last Human in what is left of New York City, and maybe the rest of the world. He and his dog Sam fight off infected victims as he tries to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus, using his own immune blood

U.S. RELEASE: December 14 2007, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

AKIVA GOLDSMAN (screenwriter/producer):
“This really is adapted both from [Richard] Matheson’s novel and from Omega Man, which is really an intact work of its own. It’s a little bit of a hybrid. I don’t want to say specifically what we did and didn’t change. We tried to stay true to the spirit. Obviously one of the most contentious issues always in the development of this property has been the ending. So I leave it to others to determine to what degree they find it faithful.”

WILL SMITH on whether he thinks he’d react like a hero in similar circumstances:
Will Smith“That is what is interesting about playing a character like Robert Neville. You get to explore and wonder how you would react. When I look at Neville, I think, ‘What was there to live for? What was there to hope for? To wake up everyday and try to restore something that is good and gone?’ I like to believe that I would just march on and continue to fight for the future of Humanity. It’s a tough question, and I guess the answer is, I don’t know. You want to be tested to know what you would do, but you really don’t want to be tested. That is sort of the space that I have lived in with quite a few of the roles I have played.”

GOLDMAN:
“One of the big changes from the source material, obviously, is the relocation to New York. Once we got to New York we just picked a specific date and took every DC poster and character that I could think of that Warner’s hadn’t made, and slapped them up there. I’m pretty sure that somebody owes somebody a lot of money for that Batman versus Superman poster!”

FRANCIS LAWRENCE:
“There are certain scenes in Times Square that take place around the ticket kiosk, where you can buy tickets for Broadway shows. That’s actually not built yet, but we got the designs from the city and actually built our set to be how it will look in the year when our viral apocalypse is supposed to happen.”

Alone in New York citySMITH:
“Shooting in New York, especially something on this level is difficult. We shut down six blocks of Fifth Avenue on a Monday morning. I was like, ‘I’m used to people liking me!’ I was starting to think ‘F- you’ was my name! [But it was worth it, because] you realize that you have never actually seen an empty shot of New York, and it was chilling to walk down the middle of Fifth Avenue. It created such a creepy energy.”

LAWRENCE on working with Samantha the dog:
“We all wanted a German Shepherd and Steve Barens sent me some pictures of dogs he trained, but their faces were very dark and I wanted a dog that felt a little friendlier. So he found a two-year-old German Shepherd at a rescue, which was Abbey. He only had a couple of months to train her and I have to say she was fantastic.”

SMTH:
“When I was nine years old I had a dog named Trixie, she was a white golden retriever that got hit by a car. So now I refuse to have animals. Jada [his wife] can have dogs, the kids can have dogs, but I’m not putting myself emotionally connected to a dog anymore.
"Then they brought that damn Abbey on the set. You say a ‘smart’ dog. It got to the point with Abbey that she would be playing and hear, ‘Rolling.’ And she would run over to her mark and get ready. It was the first time I allowed myself to connect and be fond of a dog since that experience. I said to the owner, ‘Please, Abbey has to live with me.’ She was smart, fun and warm. But I experienced the pain again, because he said, ‘I’d bring her over every weekend Will, but she has to work.’ It was painful!”

The Last Man and his best friend

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official I Am Legend site
Images above © Warner Bros Pictures
Feature © 2007 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #691, January 2008 cover

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