The Final Destination films have succeeded by using the same overall formula all five times, but it is such an original idea and its execution is so novel — each film continues to surprise its fans.
August 12 finds Final Destination 5 hitting theaters and its cast gathered to talk to Movie Fanatic about the fifth film in the franchise and how, as is the case with any sequel, this movie has upped the ante. We’ve seen the film and it is a welcomed surprise. The creativity executed by the production team is top notch (check out our full review August 12).
The Final Destination movies are all hallmarked by the same premise: You cannot cheat death. Each movie begins with a horrible, catastrophic event where someone involved had a vision of its happening in time to prevent a select few from perishing. The only problem, as Tony Todd’s character (who may or may not be death himself) so eloquently says, “Death does not like to be cheated.” What happens next is death, one by one, reclaims its victims who survived its grip.
The first film debuted in 2000 and has enthralled audiences with four successive films. But, when it comes to the originality of the characters’ deaths, the fifth may be the finest.
Final Destination 5’s cast — Todd, Nicholas D’Agosto, Miles Fisher, Emma Bell, Jacqueline MacInnes Wood, Arlen Escarpeta, Ellen Wroe, P.J. Byrne and Courtney B. Vance — shared their insight into relishing their roles as part of a pop culture phenomenon.
Movie Fanatic: The Final Destination movies all deal with death and fate — do each of you believe in fate?
Ellen Wroe: This movie has changed the way I react on a day-to-day basis. I see things and I’m like, “I could die from that,” like my curling iron which could fall into the water in my sink.
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: I think you can’t change it. I believe in gut and instinct and your intuition telling you “Don’t leave your house just yet.” I was riding my bike and saw a car driving really fast down the street and thought, “That would be crazy if I got hit by a car. I should slow down.” I did that and the car whooshed by — it would have hit me. I think little premonitions try to help you when it’s not your time.
P.J. Byrne: I don’t believe in fate. I think if you drink and smoke, you’ll die earlier. If you drink and drive, you have a high chance of dying earlier. You can do things to extend your life, but random things happen.
Arlen Escarpeta: I’m a strong believer in fate. It was late and I’m in a parking structure and I see this guy walking behind me and he has this crazy look in his eye. I’m pretending to be talking to someone on my headphone and turned around and went right past him, face to face and he went on past but he was going to do something to me. If it wasn’t my time, it wasn’t my time.
Nicholas D’Agosto: It’s an unanswerable question but I love the idea that we are both totally involved in every choice we make and yet something brought us to that point.
Tony Todd: If you do good acts and affect and change people then death won’t be so tragic. I don’t believe in fate. I think it’s more important to focus on life. Just live fully and everything else will take care of itself.
Emma Bell: I think it’s a very personal thing. I believe that whatever happens is supposed to happen in that way at that time. It’s about the choices we make and actions we take around that circumstance that dictates what will happen next. It’s a balance between fate and our own responsibility. It’s a give and take. If it’s your time to die, it’s your time.
Miles Fisher: This movie raises questions. Humans want an answer for everything including fate and religion. If there is an answer for everything, there is such a thing as asking too much. Trying to create your own answers can cause as much harm as good. Just continue to learn and be open-minded.
Movie Fanatic: Now, each of you, what would be your personally worst way to die?
Tony Todd: Trapped in the middle of a race riot.
Emma Bell: A slow, painful illness. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s.
Nicholas D’Agosto and P.J. Byrne: (At the same time) Dying of starvation.
Miles Fisher: Just to die young.
Courtney B. Vance and Arlen Escarpeta: (At the same time) Drowning.
Ellen Wroe: Burned alive.
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: Buried alive.
Movie Fanatic: Now Jacqueline, of all the deaths in the film, the one that got the most vocal response from the audience is your time having Lasik surgery. How difficult was that scene for you to film? In some ways, it was right out of Clockwork Orange!
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood: They numbed my eyeball and my head was in a vice. I wasn’t ready for that. That eye speculum was in and out of my eye from six p.m. to nine a.m. about 70 times overall. One shot, I was freaking out. There was a contact over my eye with slices in it. I’m trying to get myself out and I hit the speculum and it popped out of my eye. The contact popped out and I thought, “Holy (expletive), did I just cut my eyeball in half?”
Movie Fanatic: Nick, as the person who has the fateful vision, did you go back to watch how the other performers handled being “the one” at the center of the Final Destination firestorm?
Nicholas D’Agosto: I watched Devon Sawa (in the first film). I think tonally, it’s more like ours. They wanted this film to capture the essence of the first one. I wanted to bring the suspense and proactive element he had. I hope we have that. I tried to put myself there every day.
Movie Fanatic: Tony, of all the films, you are seriously the anchor. How do you see your character? Is he death, or someone working for death?
Tony Todd: Everybody I talk to has a different sense of who he is. I think he’s not what he seems to be. If I do my job right and I’m the glue in the midst of a cast that has to work much harder than I do, then I add a little spice to the mix. Nobody will give me an answer as to who he is. You have to be grounded and I work it that way.