The idea behind Invertigo is that gravity has reversed following a NASA probe crashing back down to earth in New York City. It’s a disaster film, so it’s a lot like Dante’s Peak if the volcano were actually the threat of flying off the face of the planet. Upside Down (see the above image (or below image depending on how you look at it)) tried messing with the gravitational pull, too, but it had a world designed for it instead of untethering ours for dramatic effect.
Sony announced the project from screenwriters Bradley Cramp and Ehren Kruger a while back and attached director D.J. Caruso. I spoke with Caruso recently, and while everyone still seems hung up on his adaptation of “Preacher,” this one seems more likely to actually get made. Caruso confirmed as much, saying, “We’re trying to shoot the movie in the spring. . . we’ll finish the rest of the movie in Louisiana on the stages next summer. It’s looking very good, very positive that we’ll be tackling Invertigo in the spring.”
Even with the high concept, the threat sounds like a major challenge. It’s hard to tell a story if everyone goes shrieking into the stratosphere all at once. Fortunately, Caruso also explained how the production plans to deal with and design the danger:
“There’s a build-up, kind of a slow burn so there’s a cool wonderment period when the gravity just starts to invert. In a way it’s fun and playful. It’s almost like a really fun moonwalk, and then obviously it turns into a dangerous, catastrophic thing. Ultimately you need to get underground or underneath something because literally the camera turns upside down about 30 minutes into the movie — as well as our lead characters.
So basically we’re walking on ceilings, we’re walking on subway tunnels and everything is inverted. It’s a combination of really clever set building, visual effects exteriors, cables and wires. It’s about every trick in the book. What’s difficult about mounting it is that you want to do it right so the audience can experience a huge spectacle and love it, but you don’t want the movie to cost so much — like a few of the movies this summer — that just cost so much that the goal of getting that money back, the window starts to shrink. We just actually licked that, and I feel like we’ve turned the corner on it.”
It’s unsurprising that money is a concern considering that Sony got tagged this summer with After Earth and White House Down, fueling even more the outside criticism from hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb. Not that the studio should listen, but after betting badly on blockbusters, it seems natural that they’ll want an effects-driven adventure to watch the bottom line carefully.
As for the movie itself, it’s one of those ridiculous concepts that has the potential to be either mind-blowing or Sharknadotastic. Caruso confirmed that they’re close to announcing casting for it, though, and seeing who they get to take the lead will give us an idea of what to expect. Hopefully even amid the floating free-for-all, story comes first.