I am a legend, so sexy guy: Behind the scenes

On the international circuit, 2008 began in robust fashion as the year’s opening weekend significantly bested 2007’s comparable stanza, while “I Am Legend” took the top spot for the third consecutive frame with an estimated $34 million from 3,900 screens in 36 markets.

Behind the scenes: what you do not know:

* Cameron Monaghan auditioned for the part of Ethan.

* Will Smith left the production for a couple of days to attend Tom Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes in Rome, Italy.

* Guillermo del Toro, Will Smith’s first choice, turned down the offer to direct this film so he could make Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008).

* Warner Bros. Pictures has owned the rights to the book since the 1970s. The studio first attempted adapting it was as The Omega Man (1971) with director Boris Sagal, starring Charlton Heston. Then as ‘I Am Legend’ with director Ridley Scott, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which fell through when the production went over-budget. And then in 2002, Michael Bay was set to direct Will Smith, but they decided to make Bad Boys II (2003) instead.

* The scenes at the Brooklyn Bridge involved over 1000 extras and various military vehicles and aircraft.

* Much of this film was shot on location in New York City’s Washington Square Park during fall and winter 2006-2007, causing holiday decorations to be taken down and replaced tumultuously for over three months.

* The studio spent an estimated $5,000,000 for a 6 night shoot in New York involving the Brooklyn Bridge. To film in this location, the producers needed the approval of up to 14 government agencies. The producers had to bring in a crew of 250, plus 1,000 extras, including 160 members of the National Guard in full combat gear.

* The film was green-lit without a script.

* Warner Brothers initially opposed filming in New York because of costs and logistical challenges. However, Michael Tadross, a veteran New York production manager got the city to approve closing the Grand Central viaduct, several blocks of Fifth Avenue and Washington Square Park, albeit at night and on weekends, between September 2006 and April 2007.

* Plants were transported via trucks from Florida to dress up the city streets as if weeds had overtaken them.

* The noise from the special effects explosions used in the scenes along the East River interrupted voice recording on the Nickelodeon children’s show, “The Wonder Pets” (2006), which has its production offices one block from where shooting of ‘I Am Legend’ took place.

* In the scene in Times Square, there is a billboard for the fictional “Superman/Batman” movie, slated to open 5/15/10. Additionally, in the video store, there are movie posters for “Green Lantern” and “Teen Titans”. All of these properties are from DC Comics, which is owned by Warner Brothers, the studio producing the movie, and either are or at one time potential upcoming releases.

* In the film, Will Smith’s character holds up a CD calling it “…the best album ever made.” The album is Bob Marley’s “Legend.”

* All of the paintings in Dr. Neville’s house were taken from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

* At the New York premier, Will Smith apologized for the disruption shooting the movie caused to the city residents. He said, “I would like to issue a public apology to the citizens of New York. There were a couple of streets we had to close off during the filming of I Am Legend. I am very sorry. People were kind of upset with me.”

* Release prints were delivered to theaters with the fake title ‘Blood Allies’.

* Will Smith grew so enamored of his canine co-star, Abby, that he tried to adopt her when the shooting was finished, but the dog’s trainer could not be persuaded to give her up.

The story

The movie begins with a newspaper interview with Dr. Kripper (Emma Thompson) who is speaking about the her scientific breakthrough. She has taken the Measles virus and altered it at a genetic level so that it attacks only cancerous cells. The treatment has proven 100% effective in over 10,109 clinical trials. The film then cuts to three years later and we see that New York is deserted. Grass is breaking through the concrete, cars are rusting in the streets, and entire buildings are covered in titanic sheets of plastic with Biohazard signs plastered all over them.

Go and see the movie. You will be surprised.