New Delhi: Unperturbed by the comparison of his film ‘I Am Number Four’ with other super-hit teenage fantasy dramas, Hollywood director DJ Caruso says the closeness of his characters with reality sets them apart from other sci-fi films.
Fantasy dramas like the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise and ‘Lord Of The Rings’ swept the audience off their feet, but Caruso is not worried.
"Many of these films choose spectacle over character. I hope my film brings a reality to the characters that transcend the sci-fi element," he told reporters in an email interview from Los Angeles.
‘I Am Number Four’, which is produced by Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay, is about nine teenaged aliens who have different powers and are sent to earth. These aliens can be killed in numerical order and with the first three already dead, John Smith (Alex Pettyfer) learns that he is number four.
"I was looking to make a science fiction with broad appeal. I was given the manuscript to `I Am Number Four` by Dream Works. I was immediately attracted to the plight of the character of Number Four. He was this disenfranchised young man searching for his identity," said the 46-year-old.
"The script of `I Am Number Four` is the most interesting point of the film. The combination of realism and action along with the touch of a love story makes it unique."
He admits that directing a film for Spielberg added extra pressure.
"There were no apprehensions at all...in fact, I was quite kicked to have been offered this project and the chance to work with him (Steven) and Michael Bay," he said.
"But it added a certain level of extra pressure. There are high expectations when you have Steven and Michael`s names attached to a film. However, as producers they were very supportive and they made directing the film on a day-to-day basis easier because of their knowledge and support," he added.
Bay was supposed to direct the film, but he got busy with ‘Transformers 3’ and the project went to Caruso.
The film, based on a book of the same name, is being presented by Dream Works Pictures and Reliance Big Entertainment. It releases in India Friday.
Apart from Pettyfer, the star cast also includes Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer, Callan McAuliffe and Timothy Olyphant.
Asked how difficult the new genre was, Caruso said, "I cannot tag it as a difficulty but there were challenges that I faced as a director that I overcame in the process of filmmaking."
Caruso forayed into direction with the Val Kilmer- and Vincent D`Onofrio-starrer ‘The Salton Sea’ in 2002, which was followed by the Angelina Jolie- and Ethan Hawk-starrer ‘Taking Lives’ in 2004. His last outing was ‘Eagle Eye’ which had Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan in the lead.
What is this fascination for dark films?
"Why I get attracted must be in something in my human psyche...`I Am Number Four` too is paranormal in a larger sense. There are a few moments in `I Am Number Four` that definitely fall into the thriller aspect. There are some moments that will make the audience jump," he said.
Caruso is now developing a comic drama with a "nice twist and a cool character" and will start working on it in summer.