|Francis Lawrence Director||previously directed Constantine|
Robert Neville is immune to a vampire-esque infection and spends most of his time trying to find 'the cure', looking for fellow survivors and talking to mannequins in a (failed?) attempt to stay sane.
The scenes at the Brooklyn Bridge involved over 1000 extras and various military vehicles and aircraft.11 More Trivia
Will Smith's Character quotes shrek's lines while the movie plays in the background, as his character has viewed the film countless times.
5 More Quotes
He [Bob Marley] had this idea. He believed that you could cure racism and hate - literally cure it, by injecting music and love into people's lives.
|Richard Matheson||Novel "I Am Legend"|
|John William Corrington||1971 Screenplay|
|Joyce Hooper Corrington||1971 Screenplay|
|Will Smith||Robert Neville|
|Salli Richardson-Whitfield||Virginia Neville|
|Willow Smith||Kathy Neville|
|Darrell Foster||Mike - Military Escort|
|April Grace||TV Personality|
|Dash Mihok||Alpha Male|
|Joanna Numata||Alpha Female|
|See Full Credits|
Based off the novel of the same name by Richard Matheson, I Am Legend takes place in a desolate New York City and centers on a man named Robert Nevelle, who is the last known healthy human in the city. In the year 2009, a cure for cancer was finally discovered with a success rate of 100%. Unfortunately, the cure, which was literally a re-engineered measles virus, mutated into an incredibly lethal strain of apocalyptic proportions. 5.4 billion people on planet Earth were killed by the virus. Around 600,000,000 people survived, but only 12,000,000 or so were actually immune to the virus.
Those that weren't immediately killed by the virus transformed into the hideous "Darkseekers", so called because they are harmed by UV radiation and must therefore remain in dark areas. A heightened metabolic rate creates an incredible hunger that drives the infected to cannibalism. The infected also possess increased strength, aggression, speed, and agility.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville ( Will Smith,) is the last known non-infected human in New York City. In December of 2009, a quarantine of New York City took place. During the chaotic evacuation, Neville managed to get his wife (played by Salli Richardson,) and daughter (played by Smith's actual daughter, Willow Smith,) on a helicopter to leave the city. Unfortunately, as the helicopter was taking off, another one nearby got attacked by what is assumed to be infected. The chopper lost control and collided with the one carrying Neville's wife and child, incinerating them. Along with his German Shepard Samantha, Neville resides in a fortified house stockpiled to the rim with supplies and weapons. He has also installed titanium doors that go over each of the windows that he closes every night so he isn't located by the "Darkseekers", infected humans who gather and hunt for food when the sun goes down. An expert virologist, Neville operates a lab in his house where he runs experiments on rats an in attempt to discover a cure for the virus that has claimed the lives of 90& of humanity.
Neville's routine includes experimenting on the rats in his lab and "vlogging" about his progress, hunting deer with an assault rifle that he probably scrounged off a soldier or military installation, and gathering supplies from stores and houses. Each day, he also sends out a broadcast for any survivors to hear instructing them to meet him at the South Street Seaport. Despite the fact that he's the only human in the city, Neville finds some respite by chatting with his dog and mannequins that he has set up in a store.
One day while out exploring, Neville tracks a deer who is spooked by his presence. The deer runs through a doorway into a building, and Neville's dog instinctively follows. Neville is devastated, as the building is pitch black inside. Despite the obvious dangers of running into Darkseekers inside, he heads in with his rifle at the ready. When he gets to the second floor, he discovers the carcass of the deer and soon after a room full of Darkseekers all huddled together. They fail to notice him, and Neville is able to find Sam taking cover under a table. Unfortunately, they two are discovered. Realizing that there is no way to sneak out, Neville and Sam begin sprinting out as a horde of Darkseekers chases after them. Sam escapes through the door and Neville busts out through a window.
Back at his lab, Neville takes a look at the rats and sees that one of them has returned to normal. Realizing that he may have a cure, Neville returns to the dark building and constructs a snare trap. Using a vial of blood to lure the infected out, Neville captures a female Darkseeker. Neville tries the cure on the woman back at the lab but fails to return her to normal.
The next day, Neville is taking a drive past Grand Central Terminal and spots one of his mannequins in front of it. Shocked by what he sees, Neville exits his vehicle and screams at the mannequin, believing, if only for a short moment, that the mannequin is actually a real person. A few shots to the chest proves that it is indeed fake. Unfortunately, Neville gets himself caught in a trap and in the process is knocked unconscious. When he comes to, it is dusk. Using a knife, he frees himself from the rope that was holding him suspended upside down in the air. He lands hard on the ground and his knife sinks into his leg. While crawling away to his vehicle, the alpha male infected, with whom he locked eyes at the dark building, unleashes two infected dogs on him. (Dogs are immune to the airborne virus but can become contaminated through blood contact). Sam comes to his rescue and attacks the dogs, giving Neville enough time to grab a pistol and kill the infected pooches. Unfortunately, Sam is bitten by one of them, and Neville tries to cure her back at the lab. When the cure fails and Sam attacks him, he is forced to strangle her.
Neville, now filled with rage and drained of all hope, sets up a mannequin at South Street Seaport where he waits every day for someone to contact him. The Darkseekers notice the mannequin and at night time run towards it. Neville unleashes his rage on them by driving up from behind and running them down in an attempt to kill himself. During the assault his vehicle is flipped over, but suddenly he is rescued from death by two immune survivors, Anna ( Alice Braga) and her son Ethan ( Charlie Tahan). They take him back to his house and Anna explains that they are going to relocate to a rumored survivors colony in Vermont. Neville firmly believes that such a colony does not exist, despite numerous persuasion attempts by Anna.
The next night, a massive assault is mounted on Neville's home by the Darkseekers. The infected followed Anna home when she rescued Neville, and found his house as a result. Neville uses explosives and UV lamps to hold them back, but eventually the alpha male breaks into the home. Neville squares off against the alpha male but the leader leaves before he is defeated. Neville finds Anna and Ethan, who were hiding in one of the rooms. Hearing Darkseekers climbing the house, the three of them fall back to the laboratory and lock themselves behind strong glass doors with the infected woman that Neville was trying to treat earlier. They discover that the treatment is actually working and that the woman is starting to turn back into human form. The alpha male smears his hands on the glass door and the resulting grime forms a butterfly. Neville sees a butterfly tattoo on the infected woman's body and realizes that the Darkseekers are actually intelligent, and that they aren't randomly attacking, they want to rescue the girl. After convincing them that he won't fight, Neville wheels the girl out to the infected. The alpha male takes her, and they Darkseekers leave the residence. Neville, Anna, and Ethan make it to the survivors colony where they present the cure to the people residing there.
The ending shown in theatres is largely considered nonsensical, ignoring all the myriad signs that the Darkseekers are intelligent, as well as abandoning the entire point of the story of the original I Am Legend novel, instead depicting them as the mindless abominations Neville initially believes they are. In this inferior ending, the alpha male, followed by dozens of Darkseekers, break into the laboratory. Neville tries to convince them that he can save them, but the infected cannot listen. Instead, with the alpha male trying to break through the glass, Neville extracts some blood from the infected woman and hands it to Anna. Locking them away in a coal chute with the cure, Neville grabs a fragmentation grenade and sacrifices himself while managing to kill all of the attackers at once. Anna and Ethan then leave alone for the survivor's colony, and present them with the cure.
Warner Bros. owned the rights to a film based on the novel I Am Legend since 1970 but work didn't begin on the movie until 1995. Ridley Scott was hired to direct with Mark Protosevich writing the script. Scott replaced Protosevich with John Logan, who was eventually replaced by Protosevich himself. Several actors, including Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were considered for the film and Warner Bros. eventually chose Schwarzenegger. After some budget issues and cancellation, it was eventually settled that Will Smith would star in the film. Playing the role of Robert Neville was, according to Smith, his toughest challenge since his performance in Ali. To prepare for his role, Smith met a person who was a prisoner of war and had actually spent a period in solitary confinement and also paid a visit to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the state of Georgia.
Originally the film was going to take place in Los Angeles but was moved to New York City in order to show emptiness much easier. Because the film was shot on location, authorities had to be convinced to close off busy sections of the city. This upset many New Yorkers, and as Will Smith puts it, "that's the most middle fingers I've ever gotten in my career". The New York City quarantine scene in the film cost $5,000,000 alone and included 1,000 extras as well as several military and non-military vehicles.
CGI was used for several purposes in the film. For one, the Darkseekers were created using CGI as the original method of human actors playing the roles of the infected weren't convincing enough. Another reason, as stated by director Francis Lawrence, was that the infected are constantly hyperventilating which is something he couldn't make the actors do as they would pass out. CGI was also used for the animals, like the deer and lions that Neville encounter, as well as to remove civilians from the city.
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