We've been caling Chronicle the American Akira. And now you can hear about that influence, straight from the creators of this movie.
Director Josh Trank and actors Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan chatted with us about their favorite Chronicle moments, the Akira influence, and how they avoided the cliché of the evil loner. Minor spoilers ahead...
How much influence did Akira have on this film.
Josh Trank: I'm a huge fan of all things Akira, it's definitely a big influence on the movie. And since you've seen the movie you can tell there are many influences on the film [including] Carrie [and] The Fury. There's so much that we were able to put into this movie because these character are really a reflection of who we were as teenagers.
When I was that age, I would pay as much as an homage to the relationships in my real life from and all my influences, and anime and movies and video games and characters who I would really emulate. I thought that in this film there's a great context for movie homages. But without being too blatant about it. Implementing those influences gracefully and respectfully, without doing a rip-off or playing out the same idea out completely. I love those movies and I really wanted to make my own fresh take on all those things.
The scene between Andrew and the police felt exactly like Tetsuo's rampage through Neo Tokyo. Was that intentional?
Josh Trank: Yeah. Absolutely. It's funny because if you had telekinesis and you were going on a rampage, that's just what would happen. If this was a real event, everyone would say, "that kid just went Akira on everyone." And that was something I used to say growing up, "I'm gonna go Akira on them." When Max [Landis the screenwriter] and I were talking about the script before it was even written we'd just say, "And then he just basically goes Akira on them." So...
Did you get any pleasure out of watching Andrew going all Akira? He beats up on the popular kids pretty hard.
Josh Trank: Yeah, it was cathartic. I think if I was that age and going through whatever I went though then, I'd be doing that probably the next day. Because nobody would know you did that, there would be no evidence. As a more adjusted adult, right now, I would be a lot more responsible. I think the real tragedy is having that kind of godlike ability at that age. There's nothing to really keep you from making a more irrational response to antagonism.
Let's speak to Andrew's character a little bit, do you think people are going to understand Andrew, or will they just blindly hate him? Can you think can you elaborate about why he is so hostile?
Josh Trank: This is a kid who has done nothing wrong. Ever. He has nowhere to hide from anything, and we really establish that from the opening shot of the movie. Most kids growing up all over the world, their bedroom is their hideout from the rest of the world. And I think everybody feels alienated to some degree, some kids objectively are more alienated than others, and this is a kid who is truly alone and nobody really understands him. I really didn't want to play off of a cliché of that. Because I really lived that growing up.
I would react very strongly to movies where they use the cliché of the loner. When you've been pushed to the side your whole life growing up, you build up a bit of a defense and anger to the outside world. It's just a biproduct or that experience. Andrew, when we start to film, he's at a place where he isn't aggressive toward anybody. He isn't fighting back he's just getting dumped on. We see his life as it plays out. I don't think anybody would have a reason to dislike him, I think we really sympathize with this kid in the beginning.
Everyone has been calling this movie the American Akira, which is interesting because rumors said you [Dane DeHaan] were up for the role of Tetsuo in the remake, how are Andrew and Tetsuo different?
Dane DeHaan: I think that Tetsuo is a bad-ass twenty something motorcycle-riding junkie. And I think that Andrew is an introverted teenager with no friends.