In the aftermath of a nuclear war with Nazis, remnants of the human race living on the moon seek a new beginning in the center of the Earth in Iron Sky: The Coming Race. With the sequel to 2012’s Iron Sky out now from Vertical Entertainment, we caught up with director Timo Vuorensola to discuss working with Udo Kier, being inspired by Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones, and taking viewers from the moon to the center of the Earth in Iron Sky: The Coming Race.
Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us, Timo, and congratulations on Iron Sky: The Coming Race! How long have you had the idea for a sequel to 2012’s Iron Sky, and what made this the perfect time to continue this story?
Timo Vuorensola: Absolutely, my pleasure! I’ve had an idea for Iron Sky: The Coming Race since already before the first film was anywhere near conception, because the more you read about Moon Nazis and several other conspiracy theories, the Hollow Earth theory tends to go hand in hand with it, in a strange way.
You raised a lot of money for this sequel through crowdfunding on Indiegogo. What was it like to see so many people showing their support to help bring this sequel to life?
Timo Vuorensola: Indiegogo and the whole crowdfunding and crowdsourcing movements are really a lifeline to me when it comes to filmmaking. I really enjoy working with so many fans and the fact that we are always surrounded by their support is really important, especially during when times are harder.
In The Coming Race, you have returning characters such as Udo Kier as Vril Adolf Hitler and new characters like Lara Rossi as Obianaju 'Obi' Washington. What was it like to collaborate with Kier again while also bringing in new faces to this franchise?
Timo Vuorensola: Working with Kier is always the most enjoyable experience. He’s a great gentleman, really experienced and a true artist, and very intelligent. In this case, he’s playing a double role, and while it was quite a challenge to make that work, he was really well-prepared and always in time with what was happening.
New faces are always an interesting addition, but especially with such a fan-driven film, also a lot can go wrong when introducing a new set of heroes, so I was very careful with the casting process. Especially with Lara, who is driving the main story, we worked a lot to get her role and the tone of her character correct.
The Coming Race raises the already high stakes established in the first film. Not only are you taking viewers to the dark side of the moon, but this time around you’re also bringing viewers into the center of the Earth and you’re adding dinosaurs to the mix as well. How important was it for you to keep adding to the massive thrills and epic scope that viewers expect from this franchise?
Timo Vuorensola: I wanted to do my Indiana Jones with this movie, and knew that in order to go there, the bar is already set really high, so one must be ready to go above and beyond visually to excite people. Nowadays, visual effects are so high-end quality stuff that one needs to really work had to make something spectacular on screen. Of course, with such fantastic settings like Hollow Earth and dinosaurs and all that, it’s also a lot to do with designing things carefully, and we worked hard with our production designer to create an interesting adventure world.
Where did filming take place, and how long was your shooting schedule?
Timo Vuorensola: We shot the whole movie in Belgium, close to Antwerp in studios, all in all in 34 shooting days, so it was a relatively quick schedule for an action film, but working in studio and with a great crew, we were able to pull it off.
Were you influenced or inspired by any other films, TV series, or books while making Iron Sky: The Coming Race? Did you keep Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s The Coming Race in mind while filming?
Timo Vuorensola: I didn’t really follow the story of The Coming Race book, other than with some basic elements, but much of the influences come from early Jules Verne books, Indiana Jones, and Jurassic Park films.
Looking back at your time on set, is there a favorite or memorable moment that stands out?
Timo Vuorensola: I always liked having Udo there on the set, but the day we were shooting him doing his crazy entrance with a dinosaur, that was definitely a fun thing, seeing him cling high in the air screaming, “Sieg heil mutterfickers.” I think he enjoyed the craziness of it as much as we did.
The digital effects in Iron Sky: The Coming Race really immerse viewers into the story and make the impossible seem believable. How long did it take to bring these awe-inspiring locations to life digitally, and who did you collaborate with for these incredible effects?
Timo Vuorensola: Visual effects were definitely the one biggest single element which took most of the time to produce. We started with Pixomondo, the VFX company, already years before to lay down basic elements of the visual effects, and did a lot of pre-planning to make it possible to run everything as smoothly as possible within our relatively limited shooting schedule. Pixomondo we chose as our VFX house because of their experience with creature VFX, which we had a lot in the movie. They had done the dragons for Game of Thrones, so their professionalism was absolutely stunning.
Ultimately, what do you hope viewers take away from Iron Sky: The Coming Race?
Timo Vuorensola: I hope it does two things: it entertains people and hopefully also inspires young filmmakers who are thinking about doing their crazy stories, showing that even if you are not with a huge studio, you can do visually impressive films.
Do you have any plans for another Iron Sky sequel? Where do you want to take the franchise next?
Timo Vuorensola: Yes, there is a clear plan for the future of Iron Sky, and we are currently discussing about making a TV show out of the IP, in addition for other elements like games, books, and other stuff that a universe like ours can contain.
With Iron Sky: The Coming Race now in theaters, On Demand, and Digital from Vertical Entertainment, what other projects do you have coming up that you’re excited about, and where can our readers follow your work online?
Timo Vuorensola: I have a Chinese film called The Ark – An Iron Sky Story in post production now, which is also coming relatively soon, and then a set of scripts I’m working on at the moment, also reading.