4 Ways Steven Spielberg Changed 'Terra Nova'

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Executive producer Steven Spielberg had helped steer the creative direction of Terra Nova in various ways, at the script level, in how the series' visual effects are shot, and on the set.

1. Add oxygen masks

Spielberg was responsible for the "rebreathers," the masks that the inhabitants of 2149 wear as there's no longer fresh air on the overcrowded Earth. That people from the future nearly choke to death when they arrive in the oxygen-rich Terra Nova was an ironic twist that also came directly from Spielberg. "It was such a cool detail," producer Brannon Braga notes.

2. Make it feel real

Spielberg, Braga and producer Rene Echevarria were bedeviled by the dinosaurs' first appearance in the pilot, when a massive Brachiosaurus inadvertently hoists a 5-year-old girl into the air as she feeds it. Echevarria recalls Spielberg toying with the speed of the shot before altering the way it was animated. "He said, 'It needs to start smaller and out of focus and by the time [the dinosaur] ends up by her, it needs to be huge in frame,' " Echevarria recalls. "He was ultimately saying that visual effects shots need to look like they've been filmed by a camera to do something impossible because it makes it feel real."

3. No repeat dinosaurs

"He just didn't want people to see a show affiliated with his name where they follow the same dinosaurs they saw in Jurassic Park -- like a T. rex running around," Braga says. "I can totally understand why."

4. Hire Lang

Spielberg's first choice to play paramilitary guy Nathaniel Taylor -- the first to travel to Terra Nova -- was the Avatar star. "He was always an advocate of Stephen Lang -- and he was right," Braga says.

 

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