Just when we thought there could be no more excitement in Hall H this morning, Edge Of Tomorrow appeared on the big screen and producer Erwin Stoff, writer Chris McQuarrie, director Doug Liman, actress Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise turned up to talk about it. Things kicked off when Cruise duetted with moderator Chris Hardwicke after learning that they'd both played Stacie Jaxx in Rock Of Ages.
"It's set just a few years in the future," says McQuarrie of the story, "and Cruise's character develops a very special power to relive a day, and it happens to be a day when a very crucial battle is happening between humanity and an invading alien force. It's hard to find a piece of material as original as this film is but still satisfying in the way this film is."
"We did a couple of months preparation beforehand," said Blunt, "and I learned krav maga and everything you could imagine. Every day we'd have to get trained up because the suits were really heavy to wear so if you didn't stay fit you'd throw your back out. Doug said our personalities did a 180 as soon as we put the suits on. We'd go from being gregarious to being snappy."
"I always wanted to work with Doug Liman," said Cruise. "I think what he does with genre is unique; he turns it on its head. Chris McQuarrie's script and what they did with the structure was unique. The alien invasion film is now a trope; people understand the language of the genre so we can get into the character journey. The film is emotional and has a tremendous amount of action. And to work with Emily - they call her Valkyrie One; the soldiers call her the Full-Metal Bitch in the film, affectionately. It's a great romantic story also. Bill Paxton is in the house, and he's in the film with us."
"Bil (Cruise's character)l is a guy who's having a very easy war, who's overseeing army PR, and through a series of mistakes he makes he ends up in an exo-skeleton fighting this war," explains Cruise of his character. "He's basically a coward, and Tom Cruise makes a brilliant coward," says Liman.
"This movie has a perverse humour to it that works on so many levels," says Paxton, now onstage. "That really buoys it along. The human story is his, because he's such a fish out of water, and I'm his character's sergeant and basically his worst nightmare."
"Bill's character basically thinks winning a war and dying gloriously on the battlefield has equal value," says Liman.
"The structure of the piece is so complex for a writer to do, and the story," says Cruise. "How to keep the story evolving and keep the characters going in every scene is so involved. My character remembers what's happening, but the pace never stops and the burden fell on McQ to make that work."
"The challenge for the relationship between mine and Tom's characters is that they're meeting every day - he remembers what's happened but I'm meeting him for the first time each day," said Blunt.
"We talked a lot about the suit we're wearing," said Cruise. "Emily's suit was about 85lbs and mine was about 120lbs, depending on what was on it. We were doing stunts in it and you had to learn how to fall in those things."
"You have to understand with Tom Cruise, you hoist him 100' and he says, "Why not higher?" He just wants people to have something they haven't seen before," says Liman.
Edge Of Tomorrow hits on June 6, 2014. Look out for it.