jasonleeLee Catches A Dream

Jason Lee, who plays Beaver in Lawrence Kasdan’s upcoming SF film Dreamcatcher, told SCI FI Wire that he had to contend with unaccustomed special effects while shooting the Stephen King adaptation. “I worked mainly on stages in Vancouver,” Lee said in an interview at Comic-Con International in San Diego. “I was already used to being up there, because I was working on another movie right before that. It was pretty easy, except for the bathroom scene, because I get all sorts of attacked and bloodied up. And that was kind of brutal. That was a few days of that. But it was great. It was a good time. … I had lots of fake stuff being puppeteered and lots of fake blood running down my body all the time, and it would harden, and I’d have to eat lunch, you know, very robotically. They did a really good job.”

In Dreamcatcher, Lee (Almost Famous) plays a member of a group of Maine small-town friends who get together once a year for a hunting reunion, only to encounter a sinister force in the woods. “I play Joe Clarendon, aka Beaver, a little bit like my character in Mumford, but possibly a little bit slower,” Lee said. “Not too slow, but big-hearted, has his own sayings, doesn’t really get upset, loves everyone and loves Buddy Holly. Hence the glasses and hair and toothpick in the mouth at all times. Good character. He was supposed to have long hair, but I had the idea that I thought he would be into the ’50s and like that kind of music, and so I e-mailed [director] Larry Kasdan, and I said, ‘I want to go with a Buddy Holly thing.’ And he said, ‘OK.’ And it worked. So it was kind of fun.”

While his cast mates, including Morgan Freeman, Timothy Olyphant and Tom Sizemore, had to shoot outdoors in midwinter in Prince George, B.C., Lee managed to escape the Canadian snow. “Fortunately, I didn’t have to work up in Prince George,” he said. “It was a nightmare. It was minus a lot [laughs].”

Lee promised that Dreamcatcher would please both fans of Kasdan (The Big Chill) and King. “Larry Kasdan is a great writer, and William Goldman. … Yeah, it was solid. And I think Larry kind of needed to do a movie like that. Because it had the friendship plot line to it, and it had that level realism to it, in the midst of chaos and bluescreens and puppets and things. So I think he’s the exception of someone who can do a big kind of special-effects movie, but maintain the humanity … with the characters. It’s like directing two different movies. It’s like directing a Big Chill in the midst of directing a big, suspense effects movie, and he can handle both very well, so it was impressive.” Dreamcatcher is slated for a 2003 release.
Deep in the Woods with Dreamcatcher
We got on-set with the new Stephen King flick.
March 06, 2002 – A movie based on the writings of Stephen King is always an event marked in big red letters on my calendar. Whether it’s the drama-laced perfection of The Shawshank Redemption, the blood-curdling psychohorror of The Shining and Misery, or the goofy popcorn justice of Maximum Overdrive, a movie with its genesis in the mind of King is generally worth whatever the criminals who run the theaters in your town are charging… and then some. Recently, I had a chance to travel up to the snow-choked woods of Prince George, in the wiles of Canada, to observe some scenes being shot from the forthcoming Dreamcatcher.

Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Raiders of the Lost Ark and the director of Body Heat, The Big Chill, and Grand Canyon, Dreamcatcher tells the story of four childhood friends (Thomas Jane, Jason Lee, Damian Lewis, and Timothy Olyphant) coming together in a cabin deep in the Maine woods as they’ve done for years and years. This year, though, will be a little bit different. This year there’s a more insidious visitor, an alien presence intent on infecting the entire human race. When the military quarantines the area and a misguided power-mad vigilante officer (Morgan Freeman) threatens to execute infected citizens, the four must call on their secret gift to save the day. Sounds good? It gets better.

Donnie Wahlberg plays Duddits, a young man the four saved from bullies when they were all children. The four share a bond with Duddits; a telepathic bond. NICE. So, we’ve got aliens, telepathy, sweet military hardware, blizzards, a great cast, a fantastic director, and enough signature King moments to choke a horse.

Our visit to the set was during a warm spell. Temperatures were hovering around the 10 degrees below zero mark. A couple of weeks before our arrival, the temps dipped into the 30 below range. Donning fleece underwear, a hat, a muffler, gloves, two jackets, a sweater, two pairs of socks, and an extra warm pair of boxers, we piled into a production van and were driven to the middle of nowhere. Cresting a hill, we saw a huge number of the military vehicles, an equally impressive number of trailers and tractor-trailers, star wagons, and a tent city housing craft services and dressing rooms. The set was abuzz with one of four wicked choppers, Humvees, cranes, and lights. It was awesome.

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