The Movie Waffler OCCUPATION RAINFALL Director Luke Sparke’s Top Sci-Fi Influences | The Movie Waffler

OCCUPATION RAINFALL Director Luke Sparke’s Top Sci-Fi Influences

Occupation Rainfall
To celebrate the release of Occupation Rainfall, director Luke Sparke has given us insight on his top sci-fi movie influences.

The race is on to save the planet in the action-packed sci-fi Occupation Rainfall from director Luke Sparke. Featuring an all-star cast including Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter franchise, Star Trek: Discovery), Temuera Morrison (Star Wars universe, incl. The Mandalorian) and Ken Jeong (The Hangover) and from the VFX team behind The Last Jedi and Blade Runner 2049 this epic thrill-ride will be exploding into cinemas and on digital on 9 July.

After a devastating intergalactic invasion of Earth, desperate human survivors and renegade aliens are struggling to fight back against the intergalactic threat in a desperate ground war. With the alien invaders hell-bent on making Earth their new home, the fragile resistance uncovers a terrifying plot that could see the war come to a decisive end, finishing off mankind for good…

To celebrate the release of Occupation Rainfall, director Luke Sparke has given us insight on the top sci-fi movie influences that inspired his own action-packed alien adventure.

Star Wars

Star Wars (1977-Present)
My number one influence on this film would probably be the Star Wars trilogy. I know it's a clichéd thing to say, but just in terms of the world building, the character building, the pacing and the editing of the story, it has been a huge influence on me throughout my entire life. And if I never get the chance to make Star Wars, I'm going to make sure that I infuse my movies with these movies as much as I possibly can without being a complete ripoff!

In Occupation Rainfall I added in a random alien with four-arms, just to have that feeling of the Mos Eisley Cantina. I don’t sit there every day referencing Star Wars, but you know, it definitely feels that way! I think it's just that the Star Wars films are in my blood. And I know it sounds weird to say, but I used to sit there as a two-year-old and watch The Empire Strikes Back on my beanbag, and then Return of the Jedi. It's just in my blood. I feel it in my bones. With the editing in the original trilogy, George Lucas cuts it so well with John Williams' music, with the musical crescendo and with certain cuts to move the story forward, especially like the Death Star trench run or the scenes with Luke fighting Darth Vader. There's a certain pace to those movies, which is what I want I’m thinking about when I’m editing.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
Terminator and Terminator 2, I really enjoyed those movies and whenever I think of resistance fighters fighting a bigger enemy I always come back to the moments in those movies where it's the future war. I wish we had a movie that’s more about the future war. That's sort of where my mind is when it comes to resistance and resistance costumes and the dystopian version of the film. So whenever I touch on dystopia, I always go straight to the Terminator franchise and how I can bring Kyle Reese and some of those other characters into my film. Also the feel of Terminator 2, the sleek look of the future and the nighttime light grading and the way James Cameron lit all that stuff is something that I really enjoy.

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park (1993)
Even though it's not ‘super sci-fi’, I would still classify Jurassic Park as a kind of sci-fi film, and one that had a huge influence on me as well. Especially in terms of the monster attack halfway through the film. Anytime we deal with creatures, I'm always on set referencing Jurassic Park. For example, ‘How can we make it sound like the T-rex?’. So it's a big influence for me in terms of creature work. I always want to make sure that we use sound to our advantage like Spielberg did with the T-rex, and the water, when they drop the music down. I love my wall-to-wall music in films, but I’ll drop the music away to try to keep the sense of somebody coming.

The velociraptors in that film are a big influence on me when I'm dealing with bad-guy  characters, even though they're not humans per se, but in the first movie they're basically the villains. I always think of them when I'm thinking of bad aliens, especially the ones in Occupation Rainfall. I use the velociraptors in my head as an example of great villains, they're always there, they're always on their feet, they're always chasing them, they're smart, they’re almost smartarses in a way with the way they smile! Like, they're just a good villain and no one really gives them credit because they’re animals.

Independence Day

Independence Day (1996)
Independence Day I remember seeing when I was 13-years-old and it kind of blew my mind. Because it was a time in between the Star Wars movies, after the original trilogy came out and there were no prequels at that point, so everyone, every kid, kind of moved on to something new, even though Star Wars always stayed with me. Independence Day kind of blew my mind when I saw it in the  cinema. Because I never got to see the original trilogy, I was born after the fact, so it was kind of like my own little Star Wars, watching all the F-18s fight the alien spaceships. I know a lot of people draw comparisons between my movie and that movie with the fighter planes.

I just thought it was fun. I remember walking out of the cinema, and looking at the sky in Australia, and thinking, ‘Wow, I wonder what would it be like if those aliens came and attacked here?’. At the end of Independence Day there's a shot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I remember seeing it in the cinema over here and the whole audience erupted, because it was  one of the first times a Hollywood movie referenced Australia. I always remember that cheer and I thought ‘Yeah, one day we could have a film about Australia getting invaded.’ So that's kind of where the genesis of these movies came from.

Starship Troopers

Starship Troopers (1997)
Starship Troopers, I appreciate for the military aspect of everything. It’s completely different to the book, and I read the book before I saw the movie. I now know it's a whole piss take on fascism, but one of the reasons I love that movie is because when I first watched it, I watched it as a straight-up action film and I really enjoyed it. And now when I watch it I go, ‘Oh, I see the connotations, I see what the real meaning behind some of the stuff is’ but you can also just watch it as an action movie and really enjoy it.  And also, it just felt like it was real.

I know the guy behind it who did the military advising, Dale Dye, who also did Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers. Whenever he's involved, he makes sure, even if it's a sci fi thing, that it feels militaristic and authentic. Dye actually helped me write some dialogue for Commander Hayes in Occupation Rainfall. I tried to infuse as much of the militarism from Starship Troopers into my own sci-fi movie.


Signature Entertainment presents Occupation Rainfall in Cinemas and on Digital from 9 July.