Upon arriving on set in Griffin, Georgia, one of the very first lessons learned from producer Marc Bienstock is that there are two things you don’t say on the set of Quarantine 2: Terminal — zombies and night vision.
“Zombie is a taboo word around here,” joked Bienstock. “People always say that there were zombies in Quarantine, but to set it straight – these are infected people. They don’t rise from the dead so no, you won’t see the undead anywhere here in Georgia.” Duly noted, sir.
In terms of night vision, Bienstock was just clearing up any misconceptions that we will be seeing the same night vision camera work used in the original Quarantine for this sequel, which almost became the integral look of the original’s marketing and advertising campaign.
“We don’t want to do the same exact thing as the first Quarantine so what we decided to use was FLIR heat vision, which is actively used by the military,” explained Bienstock. “FLIR allows us to still pay homage to the first film but is really cool and stylistically so different than the night vision that it gives our film a whole new look. It’s no fun for the fans if you keep doing the same thing in every movie.”
So, now that we know that Terminal isn’t looking to be the American copycat of [REC 2], it was time for this writer to find out the origins of the Quarantine 2 story from the mastermind himself, writer/director John Pogue.
“In terms of [REC 2], no one knew what that movie was going to be when we started collaborating for Quarantine 2,” said Pogue. “The good people at Sony said, ‘We want an original take’, and I essentially went off and came up with something that I feel is true to the mythology and essence of the first film but took it in a new direction so the edict from the get-go was that we are not going to do a shot-for-shot remake of [REC 2]. I mean, everyone hates flying these days so let’s explore that.”
Pogue, whose writing resume includes The Skulls, US Marshalls, and Rollerball, is the first guy in the room to admit that he’s still pretty surprised that he was given the chance to take the Quarantine franchise in a new direction.
“Being a huge fan of both [REC] and Quarantine, when I heard that Quarantine 2 was about to be an assignment, I spoke to Brad Luff and the other usual suspects at Sony to make sure I just stayed in the mix on the project. It wasn’t something I was just offered to write either; I really had to get in there and fight for the job alongside a bunch of other people,” Pogue said.
Then, when he found out he was about to be a first-time director, Pogue felt like the luckiest guy in Hollywood that day. “Being a writer and producer, getting the opportunity to direct the project after writing it was a really amazing step forward for me. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting to be the first project I ever directed, but it’s something that I am thrilled to have the opportunity to have done. I think we’ve done something really cool here in Georgia.”
After speaking to Pogue, I headed over to check out some of the more pivotal moments of the third act, where our heroine, Jenny (Mercedes Masohn), struggled against the film’s main infected cast member (no spoilers here, kids; all I can say is look forward to some killer work on the infected once again by special makeup FX guru Robert Hall, who also created the carnage in the first Quarantine) with only heat vision and a trusty wrench to help her make her way out of an abandoned airport.
If you’re looking for a lead actress who isn’t afraid to get down and dirty, then Masohn is your girl. This daredevil, who has been on set for every day of shooting since filming started in mid-June, is the first to volunteer to do her own stunts, despite her grueling work schedule for Quarantine 2.
Masohn discussed her take no prisoners approach on Quarantine 2: Terminal, “I just have issues letting people do stunts for me, much to the chagrin of other directors and stunt people. I always want to at least try it for myself first if I am in the middle of the scene just to see if I can do it. I think part of why I challenge myself like that is so I can really get into the character. And I think with all I’ve gotten to do with Jenny, this is the first time I’ve really felt a character become a part of me this deeply. A lot of that is due to John (Pogue) and his allowing me to really find what makes Jenny tick while we’re shooting. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun on set,” Masohn added.
As my time on the set of Quarantine 2: Terminal was drawing to a close, I did happen to see a really badass puppet of the film’s protagonist who was about to have a date with a lead wrench being wheeled onto set. While I won’t give anything away to the design or the poor character that has seen better days, the physical manifestations of the infection that covered the body were enough to make sure I carried Purell on my flight home.
Probably the most ironic thing that ever happened to me on any set visit happened on my flight back from Georgia to Los Angeles: About 20 minutes into the flight, we heard one of the flight attendants on the intercom ask if there were any medical professionals on board. Apparently one of the passengers had gotten violently ill and was moved to the back of the plane as a precaution.
Life imitating art indeed! Look for more about Dread Central’s set visit closer to the release of Quarantine 2: Terminal!
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