Keanu Reeves’ ‘Replicas’ Team Urges Relief for Puerto Rico at Comic Con
New York Comic Con attendees were treated to a first look of the trailer for Keanu Reeves‘ upcoming sci-fi film Replicas on October 5, but the creative team had much more urgent news to share. At the packed panel, director Jeffrey Nachmanoff spoke about the challenges of shooting the film last year during hurricane season in Puerto Rico. A campaign — The Puerto Rico Film Friends Relief Fund — was subsequently spearheaded to aid the still-suffering country as it tries to recover from Hurricane Maria.
The campaign — in association with Reeves, Hollywood and Puerto Rican filmmakers, and distribution company CINE — was launched with the goal to raise $200,000 for aid for those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (including Vieques and Culebra).
Reeves, also a producer of Replicas, portrays a neuroscientist on the verge of preserving human consciousness digitally. He becomes obsessed with bringing his family back to life after they die in a car accident. The John Wick star was impressed with how everyone came together to make the movie happen.
“It was really awesome,” Reeves told fans. “I had never been to Puerto Rico. The way that everyone came together to make the film with so many different ways to literally making sh–. There was a production designer who literally cut a car in half. There were so many people who were contributing to the creative, to the production design and the support. You really did feel like everything was all for one, let’s do it. For me it was great to go to work and try and tell this story. It was nice to see everybody coming together to do it.”
Shooting in a remote location was not without its challenges. If something went wrong, it was a boat ride away to fix it. They were also shooting the film during a Zika outbreak, and were on a tight budget and schedule. The crew, mostly made up of Puerto Ricans, was threatened by outside forces beyond their control. The irony of the threat of hurricane season last year was not lost on Nachmanoff when a power outage downed their film for four days.
“We did have a threat of things to come. There was a power outage which lasted for four days which knocked out the entire grid while we were shooting. We had generators, but our crew was going home to their homes and their apartments with no air conditioning and no lights and then coming back, and we’re all continuing to shoot,” Nachmanoff said at the panel.
Nachmanoff commended the crew for perservering and encouraged the public to not only help their film friends, but help everyone affected by the hurricane, which also wreaked havoc on their production facility.
“I give them incredible credit. They were so professional and they worked so hard that it didn’t stop us from shooting. We fought it and made the best of it. We made a lot of friends down there, which is one of the reasons we are raising money to reach out and help these people. We have talented film professionals down there, and those are the people we know, but they need our help right now. We were still doing some work in Puerto Rico, and when the hurricane hit our whole facility shut down. We still don’t know if it’s all OK,” Nachmanoff said.
The campaign has set up a team in Puerto Rico that is making sure the aid gets to people who really need it.
“Some of the people on our team are still wading through four feet of water, trying to help people to assess the damage to their homes. This is part of the reason we’re really trying to help Puerto Rico, because they’ve done so much to help us on this movie,” a producer moderating the panel concluded.