James Wong makes a horror fans delight

March 15, 2006

Final Destination 3
James Wong makes a horror fans delight

 

When Final Destination 3 (New Line Cinema – Rated R) opened nationwide on February 10, it was hailed as the “perfect” horror film, the best of a trilogy, by fans of the genre. It was also panned as one more in a long line of teen horror films, each succeeding in finding new ways to send teenagers to their final demise in the most improbably ways imaginable.

If there is anything to note about the supernatural thriller Final Destination 3 – it is the renowned partnership of lifelong friends and filmmakers, Glen Morgan (producer and writer) and James Wong (director, producer, and writer).

This is their latest and most terrifying installment in this popular, action-packed series, which marks the return of the filmmakers of the first Final Destination. James Wong (Final Destination, “X-Files”) directs from a screenplay by Glen Morgan (Final Destination, Willard) & James Wong. The producers are Craig Perry (Final Destination, the American Pie franchise), Warren Zide (Final Destination, American Pie), Morgan and Wong.

Director James Wong on the set of New Line Cinema’s fright-filled upcoming FINAL DESTINATION 3. Photo:  ã2005 Shane Harvey/New Line Productions

 

When your number’s up, it’s up!

“I think the idea of fate has always been in people’s heads. Are we fated to meet the one we marry?  How will we die?  These are questions that everyone’s thought about,” says director James Wong, who with producer Glen Morgan, wrote the screenplay for Final Destination 3, as well as the original Final Destination, which was released in 2000 (Final Destination 2 was released in 2002).

When two teens join their class for a graduation night at an amusement park, they receive a premonition of a horrific accident while in line for the roller coaster ride. As she and a classmate stand below, the nightmarish premonition is proved true – as the coaster careens out of control, and all those aboard perish.

But that’s only the beginning…

The fortunate survivors with the pre-warning are haunted with a message that they were meant to be with their classmates. One by one the classmates begin falling victim to the most bizarre and gruesome fate.

James Wong says he immediately knew that Ryan Merriman (Kevin Fischer) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Wendy Christensen), who previously had acted together in The Ring 2, were right for the roles. “The moment Ryan came in I thought he was the right guy to play Kevin,” says Wong. “Kevin needed to be the kind of guy you want to hang out with, your goofy best buddy, but also someone who could rise to the occasion and become a hero. He had to straddle that line, and also have an all-American, boy-next-door quality.”

“Mary brings a kind of soulfulness to her role as Wendy,” Wong continues.  “She is deeply affected by the accident, but she’s strong, and fights to maintain control.”

Morgan and Wong’s script is like an intricate jigsaw puzzle, with each small piece fitting into the next to reconstruct the fractured image. “Jim and Glen both love playing with text and imagery – with film trickery, a kind of connect-the-dots,” Freeborn continues. “In the midway scene that opens the film, there is imagery that connects to the events that occur later on. There’s an illuminated sign for one of the rides called the ‘High Dive’ in which the letter ‘v’ goes dark. At one of the midway games, a sign reads ‘Test Your Skill’, but the way the camera sees the sign the letter ‘s’ in the word ‘skill’ is obscured.”

“Jim Wong’s movies are very action-driven and the sheer logistics of what has to happen in a scene has been a major influence in how we approach lighting and shooting it,” says director of photography Rob McLachlan.

James Wong moved to California from Taiwan at age ten, and became friends with Glen Morgan in an English class at El Cajon Valley High School, San Diego. They became famous with their breakthrough success writing for television (“X-Files,” and “The Others,” and “Space: Above and Beyond.’) Their films together include “Willard,” (2003), “The One,” with Jet Li (2001), and many more.

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