Joseph Kosinski Explains What We're Seeing in the 'Oblivion' Trailer

December 14, 2012
Source: MTV


"If you're looking for the truth, that's where you'll find it…" Now that they've revealed a look at Joseph Kosinski's Oblivion, his new original sci-fi feature starring Tom Cruise, its time to dive into the project itself. What is it? Is this the same as the graphic novel Kosinski was working on a few years ago? Yes it is, but Kosinski "realized that the way I wanted this story to be experienced was on the big screen and not out of the book." MTV followed up with the director after the trailer, and was able to discuss a few topics about the movie, the story and "daytime" visual look, casting Cruise and what exactly we're seeing in the footage.

Up first, the trailer for Oblivion introduces us to an interesting new word. It's the future, on Earth, but aliens have invaded, wiped out most of the human race except for those now living in massive floating cities above the clouds. Except there's a society underground, too. It's hard to pick up on all those details in the trailer, so Kosinski first breaks down the idea for this and where it comes from, making a few references that might help you get a better idea of what Oblivion is really about. These quotes are in text directly via MTV:

"I started writing this small character-driven science fiction story that was in the vein of those science fiction films of the 1970s that involved this lone survivor among the ruins of civilization, like 'Mega Man' or 'Silent Running' — it was kind of in that vein. I thought if it was going to be my first movie it would have to be something very small and contained in order to even get a chance at pulling it off. So it's the story of a drill repair man, Jack Harper, who is one of the last human beings left on earth after a massive war, which was the result of an alien invasion. Even though humankind won the war, Earth was left in such a state that we had to look for another place to settle, and Jack is left behind to monitor and secure the resource gathering operation that's happening where we're gathering the last bit of energy out of the earth's seawater in order to move onto the next step."

So what about Tom Cruise? How did he get in the mix with Tron Legacy director Joe Kosinski's next sci-fi movie? Ever since this trailer hit and moviegoers have taken quite an interest, I've heard a few people come to me saying "so, how did Tom Cruise end up in this?" He looks pretty damn good, and the story of how he got cast isn't all that exciting, to be honest. It all connects back to that graphic novel that Kosinski originally put together years ago, which Cruise first picked up on and enthusiastically came to him about. He explains:

"It was our final Comic-Con for 'Tron,' and while I was showing the big Comic-Con trailer and we were doing our big song and dance for 'Tron: Legacy,' I was also launching an ashcan for 'Oblivion'—which was just kind of like an introductory chapter with eight images at the Radical [Comics] booth. And the day after I got back from Comic-Con, I got a call from Tom's agent saying that Tom had seen the ashcan and wanted to meet me and talk to me about it. I went over and met him at his hanger and I pitched him the full story ’cause he had just read that introductory beat—there wasn't a script at that point it was a story in my head. And I pitched him the whole story over about two hours and at the end of the meeting he said, 'Let's do this. I want to do this. I want to do this movie with you.' … The role fits him like a glove. I just can't imagine anyone else playing this character."

One of the reason I'm particularly excited to see Oblivion is that Kosinski has a style unlike any other and pushes the visual bounds of sci-fi with his films. Basically, the movie looks beautiful, and awesome, and we've barely seen some glimpses of action in the trailer. Here's a look at the ship Cruise's Jack Harper flies:

Oblivion Trailer

Whether or not this movie turns out to be entertaining, one thing can't be denied - it has a fresh, unique, stunning sci-fi style that will definitely be replicated in years to come. But for now, we'll lucky get a chance to experience this new world and all of the visual effects in just over four months, as this is supposed to be ready for April 2013. If you're still confused about the visual style, Kosinski goes on to explain a bit about what he was trying to achieve with Oblivion—visually, at least. I have a feeling there will be plenty more to discuss about the visuals and filmmaking side of this as we lead up to its release coming up. Kosinski says:

"Visually, I always knew exactly what I wanted the film to look like. 'Alien' is one of my favorite movies of all time, but I feel like after 'Alien,' science fiction kind of went into the dark for a long time. It became about deep space and dark ship holes and it just went into darkness. I liked the idea of bringing science fiction out into the daylight again. So it is a daytime science fiction film where the world is kind of divided into two zones: the world above the clouds and the world below the clouds. The world above the clouds is where Jack lives with Victoria, his partner, in this operation, in the skytower which is 3,500 ft. above the ground, away from the dangers that live below, which is a very different world from the ground where Jack actually has to do his job every day. And that juxtaposition to me in concept lends itself into a visual juxtaposition as well, where you're gonna see technology set against a landscape that I feel is something we haven't really seen before."

I hope that's the case. He goes on to hint a bit later that they tried to used technology to shoot this that had never been seen: "it was the most advanced thing I've ever done, and it was only possible because of the camera we had and the lenses we were using." So if you think those glimpses in the trailer were incredible, just wait. You ain't seen nothing yet. "I think the trailer does a good job at hinting that the film does have a number or twists and turns and there are hard questions being asked and there is a character who is under pressure. But I don't really want to say much more than that as to what the plot of the movie is." So there's plenty he's keeping hidden. Head over to MTV for all the quotes from Kosinski. We hope to see more soon.

Oblivion Trailer

Kosinski's Oblivion (also known as Horizons) stars Tom Cruise as Jack Harper, plus Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Zoe Bell, Andrea Riseborough, Melissa Leo and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Living and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, Jack's soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands. Kosinski developed this for years, with a writing credit with Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt. Universal has Oblivion set to open exclusively in IMAX theaters starting April 12th, before then going wide April 19th.

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Neat post, though I'm most excited about this Kosinski tidbit from the MTV link (about the score for Oblivion): "The composer is Anthony Gonzales, also known as M83, who's working in conjunction with Joe Trapanese, who was my orchestrator on 'Tron' and worked with Daft Punk" The score to TRON: Legacy was probably the very best part of the film. Now I'm looking forward to this one for sure!

RidgeRacer4 on Dec 14, 2012


Yea I'm definitely excited to hear it, too. We covered the M83 news back in June when it first hit so I felt we had mentioned it before: The new score wasn't featured in the trailer (as far as we know), and the quote didn't add too much that we didn't already hear about. But yes, I'm very excited for this entire film, with the M83 score and visual effects and everything.

Alex Billington on Dec 14, 2012


Is this the new thing now? As if the BWAA BWAAAA sound effect wasn't enough - and the many trailers that give away the whole film - now we need directors to give away whatever few mysteries are left in trailers. Trailers, by the way, are created to excite and create a sense of mystery. They're made to draw us in to theaters. When I saw the trailers for Oblivion and Pacific Rim my first thought was "wow, something different is finally coming. something that can take me by surprise." That's how we should feel right?

themartymartin on Dec 14, 2012


Agreed, I really hate this. Please go back to the trailers for trailers rather than letting this become a trend.

Matt Peloquin on Dec 14, 2012


Really? You'd rather have all the teaser trailers for the trailers for a trailer instead of some well-informed commentary from the director? He's not explaining away the mysteries, he's explaining literally what's going on, what we're going to see in the movie. I can understand a commentary track (like the Guillermo one) being a bit much, but this is good stuff!

Alex Billington on Dec 14, 2012


I'll agree that this is better than the Del Toro one as I could actually read this one and still enjoy the film, but I still like the mystery more. I hated the trailers for trailers, but at least they didn't ruin the film for me. It's a dangerous line to tread for a director because they can be led down a path by a blogger and accidentally give away more than they wanted. Some will be better at it than others and it reminds me why people like Nolan just refuse to talk to the press.

Matt Peloquin on Dec 14, 2012


I like Tom Cruise. I think I will like this movie. It will probably soften the blow of the inevitable disappointment of After Earth.

OfficialJab on Dec 14, 2012


Well, you cant really be disappointed when your expectations are already set at "shit".

Cody W on Dec 14, 2012


Well it works like this: 1. M. Night movie revealed, looks great 2. See it, it's terrible 3. Repeat with next amazing preview he releases I always hope this one will break the cycle, but am prepared for it not to. Call it what you will.

OfficialJab on Dec 14, 2012


2013 is really the year of sci fi, so excited. This movie looks awesome and Can't wait for a Elysium trailer

Eru'Eru Narvaez on Dec 14, 2012


does he mean "Omega Man"?

mgm on Dec 14, 2012


this looks so good just based on the trailer i can not wait to see this next year. it came out of nowhere to be honest it has jumped to the top 5 movies i want to see next year.

Ðavε on Dec 14, 2012


Tom Cruise is always great and the trailer is awesome! Therer will be allot good sience fiction movies the next few years!

avi on Dec 14, 2012


Will Oblivion be released as a graphic novel before April 2013?

David Banner on Dec 14, 2012


Nice to see some sci-fi films on the radar after the years and years of comic book movies and vampires/zombies. And they're not even remakes.

castingcouch on Dec 15, 2012

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