Invasion with Daniel (Bond) Craig

Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman co-star in the science fiction action thriller The Invasion, a terrifying odyssey into a world in which the only way to stay human is to stay awake.

“The Invasion” is directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, who helmed the award-winning
drama Downfall, from a screenplay by David Kajganich, based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney.

Screenwriter David Kajganich notes, “In the Finney novel the alien presence simply wants to survive. But survival takes different forms. You just have to look around our world today to see that power inspires nothing more than the desire to retain it and to eliminate anything that threatens it. It's no accident that the vehicle
for this invasion lands at the nation's seat of power in Washington, DC.”

“The Invasion” is a thriller that unfolds in a world that is very recognizable world of today,” says producer Joel Silver. “In an era of enormous political, social and environmental paranoia, it really felt for us that now was the right time to make this film. Kasganich wrote an original screenplay that takes a fresh approach to the ideas in the novel. This movie is thrilling and exciting but with a deeper layer of undertones.”

Against the broad backdrop of an insidious invasion is an intimate story of a handful of characters brought together by creeping suspicions that manifest themselves in very real, terrifying ways–starting with Carol Bennell, so named as a nod to the book's main character, Miles Bennell. Kidman plays the DC psychiatrist who finds herself in the eye of the storm when one of her patients expresses fear that “her husband is no longer her husband.”

For Hirschbiegel, Carol's character is the lens through which the story is told. “Everything is centered around her, seen from her perspective. Nicole brought so much of herself to this role in terms of her strength and her absolutely primal need to protect her child,” the director states. “Her ability to immerse herself in the world of the story was fascinating to observe and capture on film. Her reactions felt very natural, which really heightened the urgency of her character's situation.”

Fortunate to Have Daniel Craig

Carol shares her suspicions with her closest friend, Ben Driscoll, a doctor at a busy DC hospital. Ben is played by Daniel Craig, who acknowledges, “It's a platonic relationship, but of course he's madly in love with her. He wants to take care of her. He sees her going through a messy situation with her ex-husband and their son, and he's not pushing it, but his dream would be to be with her.”

“I felt so fortunate to have Daniel in the role of Ben,” Hirschbiegel remarks. “He naturally conveyed all the facets of his character: all the toughness, the intelligence and the tenderness that makes you see why Carol relies on Ben so much. Daniel also has a wicked sense of humor. I had a great time working with him.”

Working for the first time with Kidman, Craig was equally impressed with his co star's dual propensities for the seriousness of the role and the ability to have fun on set. “She's a fantastic actress,” Craig says. “She's just got so much depth; for me, it was a joy working with her.”

Kidman is likewise appreciative of her co-star. “Daniel is such a fine actor,” she says. “He has an enormous amount of talent. You want to have people around you who inspire you and who are so good at what they do, because then it's fun to come to work every day. The things that I just love are those moments between action and cut when anything can happen to be able to get lost in those moments and lost in the scenes. It's what draws me back time and time again.”

Whatever contagion the shuttle carried to Earth is rapidly spreading as those who are infected are driven to infect others. “Snatchers don't kill people,” comments Hirschbiegel. “They radically change them from the inside once they're infected. They transform regular people into something else.”

“You get infected and then the process is completed when you fall asleep,” adds Daniel Craig. “When you go into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, that's the catalyst which creates this change that takes over your whole body on a DNA level.”

The CDC mounts an emergency national inoculation plan to combat what it names to be a powerful flu, but the truth of the serum is the reverse of inoculation. “In one scene, Tucker is lecturing government officials about this virus and the need to fight it but in reality he's using the meeting to infect everyone in the room,” explains producer Joel Silver. “They organize this magnificent campaign, and soon the number of Snatchers grows exponentially.”

“When you've been snatched, you look a little better, a little healthier, stronger,” Hirschbiegel describes. “It messes around with your genetic code. Snatchers like order–not like robots, but they don't respond to anything emotionally. They go into a serene, weird state.”

Seemingly overnight, the colorful, chaotic everyday world is transformed into a muted world of organization, starting first with the keepers of order. “The Snatchers are not dumb,” adds Kajganich. “The first people they infect are the people who will be most useful to them in their campaign. So, they infect people who are in high-ranking positions in government, law enforcement and commerce to pave the way for a smooth, quick invasion of the rest of us. Efficiency is a big word for describing how Snatchers behave–in the most efficient way possible.”

Two of the primary technical advisors on the film included Ana Krieger, FCCP, M.D., the Director of New York University's Sleep Disorders Center; and Linda Chuang, M.D., Clinical Instructor, Department of Psychiatry, Division of consultation-Liaison, Bellevue Hospital, New York University.

Hirschbiegel's dedication to authenticity defined the locations for the film. Rather than fabricate a set on a soundstage, he sought to shoot the film primarily in practical locations, preferably the story's true locations. Principal photography on “The Invasion” began in Baltimore's Downtown/Inner Harbor area, which portrayed itself as well as doubling on occasion for Washington, DC. The company then moved to the nation's capital, the film's primary setting.

Production utilized locations and landmarks recognized worldwide, including the National Mall, George Washington University Hospital in the city's Foggy Bottom district, the Cleveland Park Metro Station, Georgetown, and the historic Union Station.

Thrill of Location Shooting

Shooting in Washington gave Daniel Craig a particular thrill: “Driving down Pennsylvania Avenue with the Capitol in front of me, with six cop cars behind me and with my lights on was fun,” he remembers. “I was suddenly going, “This is fantastic!” The footage gathered on the National Mall was augmented by additional footage shot on a private wheat farm that became the space shuttle Patriot crash site where the CDC's Tucker Kaufman arrives to investigate. The site was adjacent to the Fort Howard VA Medical Center. “On this bigger crash site, we built one wing of the shuttle and plowed it into a trench so that only parts of it stuck out,” says Fisk.

For the last six days of DC filming, the cast and crew set up in the residence of the Ambassador of Chile located near Sheridan Circle along the district's famed Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue. The ambassador's historically significant three-story mansion-designed in 1909 by prestigious architect Nathan Wyeth, who also designed the West Wing of the White House, including the Oval Office, portrays the Czech Embassy in the film.

While the “The Invasion” has its roots in classic science fiction, Silver notes that the film plays on more contemporary collective fears. “Who knows what we'll ultimately be vulnerable to as a society What if it's not incredible destruction or explosions It might be something as simple as a microbe, and I think that's a scarier notion today. You don't know where it's going to come from or how it's going to happen.”

“The whole mythology of the book The Body Snatchers and now the movie 'The Invasion' is that they come from outer space, they get you while you're sleeping, and one day you wake up and your world has been completely changed,” comments Kajganich. “Suddenly you're in a minority of people trying to fight to put things back as they were. But that basic premise becomes much scarier and much more relevant when you consider a population that doesn't engage politically, that doesn't pay attention to what's going on in the world. That world could disappear in the blink of an eye.”

Questioning Our Existence

“We should all be questioning our existence a little,” muses Daniel Craig. “We don't have to do it all the time. We've got to get on with work and carry on with our lives, but we should trust our own sense of things and question if what we're being told is the truth.”