Cloverfield is a 2008 American monster movie directed by Matt Reeves, produced by J. J. Abrams and written by Drew Goddard.
The film follows five young New Yorkers attending a going-away party on the night that a gigantic monster attacks the city. First publicized within a teaser trailer in screenings of Transformers, the film was released on January 17 in New Zealand and Australia, on January 18 in North America, on January 24 in South Korea, on January 25 in Taiwan, on January 31 in Germany and on February 1 in Ireland, in the United Kingdom and in Italy. In Japan, the film was released on April 5.
VFX and CGI were performed by effects studios Double Negative and Tippett Studio.
- The first trailer for this movie played before Transformers (2007). It showed a giant explosion in the heart of New York City and the Statue of Liberty’s head being thrown down a street. It was shot with a hand-held video recorder. There was no title.
- Jason (Mike Vogel) can be seen wearing a Slusho! T-shirt throughout the movie. Slusho! is a drink from J.J. Abrams’ show “Alias” (2001) as well as a codename of the film’s, and the shirt is the only time the beverage is acknowledged during the movie, with far more information hinted about it on the Internet.
- The film was shot in 34 days, in Los Angeles under the fake title “Slusho” and in New York under the fake title “Cheese”. The Ferris wheel scene, the last in sequential order, was filmed on the first day. The scene inside Beth’s parents’ apartment, the first in sequential order, was filmed on the last day.
- The title “Cloverfield”; initially just a codename for the movie, is named for the boulevard in Santa Monica where the Bad Robot offices were located during the making of the film.
- The teaser trailer, as was planned, was shot before principal production began with digital cameras.
- The film has no music score and music for the end credits do not begin until 1 minute and 30 seconds after the credits start rolling.
- Prints were shipped to some theaters under the name “Bertha”.
- The movie is viewed primarily from the point of view of Hud, the character who uses the camera the most. H.U.D. is short for Heads-Up Display, a method for overlaying information onto a view of one’s surroundings such as Timestamps on video footage.
- During the first weekend of the release, many theaters posted signs warning guests that the hand held camera movements may cause motion sickness.
- Lizzy Caplan (Marlena) did not know what she was auditioning for. She thought it was a romantic movie until her second audition, where she read a scene from “Alias” (2001). It wasn’t until after she was offered the role that she found out it was a monster movie, and the actors weren’t allowed to read the script until after they signed on.
- The decapitated head of the Statue of Liberty in the street is inspired by the poster for John Carpenter’s Escape from New York (1981), which depicts the head of the Statue of Liberty lying in the middle of the street.
- Many scenes were shot with the Panasonic HVX200 “prosumer” digital video camera. Visual effects plates were shot primarily with the Thomson Grass Valley Viper Filmstream digital video camera; the effects camera in NYC was the Sony F23 digital video camera.
- In the teaser trailer, the voice yelling “I saw it! It’s alive! It’s huge!” is that of Director Matt Reeves.
- The voice in the mysterious radio broadcast that plays after the end credits is director Matt Reeves.
- One of the original ideas for a title for the movie was “Greyshot,” both a reference to the hand-held style of filming and the name of the bridge in Central Park where Rob and Beth take refuge.
- The voice yelling “Oh my God!” repeatedly when the head of the Statue of Liberty lands on the street is producer Bryan Burk.
- The opening party scenes were filmed without music, and the guests in the background were silently pretending to talk to one another. All the music was added in post-production.
- The film begins on April 27 and ends on May 23 at the exact same time: 6.42 AM.
- Images from King Kong (1933), The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953), and Them! (1954) are hidden within the film. Each image is seen extremely briefly, for only a single frame, during a camera edit. The “Them!” picture is shown at 00.24.06, the “Beast from 20,000 Fathoms” picture is shown at 00.45.27, and the “King Kong” picture is shown at 1.06.55. A brief clip of Rob and Beth at a train station is seen with the “King Kong” image at 1.06.51.
- The head of the Statue of Liberty is shown about 50% larger than actual size. CG supervisor David Vickery said in an interview that many people imagined the head being much bigger than it actually is, and that the size was increased due to complaints that the head looked too small in the trailer.
- Cameo: [Laetitia Casta] Model in the poster inside the Sephora shop exterior where Lily, Marlena, Rob and Hud stop after running from the Brooklyn Bridge, before Rob enters the electronics store.
- The rats used in the tunnel scene were specially-trained and colored with a dark, charcoal-like substance to give them the appearance of wild, dirty tunnel rats. The rats in the final shot were completely computer-generated.
- J.J. Abrams has used the number 47 extensively on past projects. In “Alias” (2001) it played great importance as a page on Rambaldi’s manuscript, and as a recurring pointer to important motifs. It should come as no surprise that “Cloverfield” is the designation to the case of the images found on Area US-447. Also, in the scenes where they’re taking the stairs up to the top of the skyscrapers to save Beth, one of the floor numbers filmed is the 47th.
- One of the promotional websites, Jamieandteddy.com (password “jllovesth”), shows videologs (vlogs) made by the title couple about their relationship (which turns sour). Jamie Lascano is only seen at the party unceremoniously unconscious on the couch, and Teddy Hanssen is nowhere to be found (although on 1-18-08.com, he is now identified as “missing”). The actors who play either of the two are not confirmed. Though it has been speculated that Jamie is played by Blake Lively, this is incorrect.
- The crossfire sequence was shot in one night on the Warner Brothers New York Street lot in Burbank. The extras playing soldiers fired real blanks from their weapons for the first couple of takes until 10:00 pm, when noise ordinances forced them to use quiet flash bulb alternatives.
- Some footage in the film was shot by the actors.
- Eric Leven – the visual effects supervisor – refers to the monster as “Clover”.
- According to Neville Page, creature designer – the monster is a baby in a new environment – “spooked” and looking for its mother.
- According to Annie Pomeranz – visual effects producer – puppets were used in the scene involving the “parasites” inside the tunnel but the scene turned out to be more interactive than originally thought and CGI animation was required. However, Matt Reeves – the director – states that the scenes with the puppets were too “goofy”.
- In the beginning of the movie, Beth, played by Odette Yustman, talks about how she could see the footage Rob was taking on the internet. Yustman also starred in a movie called Reckless Behavior: Caught on Tape (2007) (TV), in which she plays a teacher whose career is ruined when a video of her winds up on the internet.
- All the main characters (and Jamie) have MySpace pages. The producers made these pages to advertise on MySpace. All the characters last logged into them on January 18, 2008. (1-18-08), the release date of the film.
- At the beginning of the film there is a textual reference to DARPA – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency which is an agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the development of new technology for use by the military.