Twisters Shot During Oklahoma’s Real Tornado Season: ‘Audiences Won’t Have Seen Anything Like This’


by Ben Travis |
Published on

If there’s one thing you need to know about ‘90s blockbuster breeze-fest Twister, it’s this: it really delivers on the ‘twister’ front. If you’re going to make a film intended to bring audiences right into the eye of the storm-chasing profession, you’d better ensure they emerge from the auditorium feeling suitably windswept. And so, when devising long-awaited sequel-of-sorts Twisters, arriving later this summer, filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung (predominantly known for much-less-blockbustery awards favourite Minari) knew he had to really deliver on the weather front.

That meant battering his astonishing cast of rising Hollywood stars – including Glen Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Anthony Ramos – with all kinds of practical wind effects. “This is an elemental story, so I wanted us to go as practical as possible,” Chung tells Empire. “We really tore things up. We had jet engines blowing. We had fans so massive you’d lose your hearing without earplugs. We were pelting our cast with everything – dirt, wind, ice.” But more so than that, it meant filming in rural Oklahoma during actual tornado season – bringing a sense of authenticity to the screen. It all made for a particularly elemental shoot. “It was tough,” admits Chung. “The unpredictability of the weather caused a lot of issues and delays. It was my choice to do this in tornado season, but honestly, I still can’t believe we actually did it.”

The results, though, should hopefully be a blast in every sense – taking viewers into larger-than-life natural phenomena like never before. “They were flying drones really close to real tornados,” Powell enthuses. “Audiences won’t have seen anything like this.” The aim? Deliver serious, old-school, big-screen summer thrills. “We knocked this movie out of the park!” booms Powell. “I remember when we were breaking Top Gun: Maverick, we went back to the original to figure out: ‘What do audiences want from a Top Gun movie? What are the set-pieces and characters that feel wholly Top Gun?’ It was the same on Twisters. Our film honours the first one, but stands on its own merits.” Get ready to be… well, blown away.

Empire July 2024 – Beetlejuice Beetlejuice cover

Read Empire’s full Twisters feature – speaking to Lee Isaac Chung and his cast about chasing ‘90s disaster-adventure thrills – in the Beetlejuice Beetlejuice issue, on sale Thursday 6 June. Twisters comes to UK cinemas from 18 July.

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