15 Raging Facts About 28 Weeks Later  

20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Five years after Danny Boyle scared the hell out of audiences with 28 Days Later, his post-apocalyptic horror film, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo continued the story with 28 Weeks Later, which saw military forces attempting to secure a small "safe zone" for survivors in London while zombies raged all around them. To celebrate the sequel's tenth anniversary, here are 15 things you might not have known about 28 Weeks Later.

1. THE ORIGINAL STORY FOR THE SEQUEL WAS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

Titled 29 Days Later, the original sequel told the story of British marines attempting to rescue the Prime Minister and the Queen of England.

2. THE SEQUEL HAD A NEW DIRECTOR.

Instead of returning to the director’s seat to follow up his 2002 film 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle directed 2007’s Sunshine. He did, however, serve as one of the film's executive producers.

3. DANNY BOYLE DID MAKE A DIRECTING CAMEO.

In addition to his producing role, Boyle did step behind the camera—at least momentarily. He directed second unit footage of the opening scene.

4. BOYLE ALSO MADE HIS MARK ON THE PLOT.


YouTube

He suggested the eye hemorrhage to denote asymptomatic virus carriers.

5. THE NEW DIRECTOR GOT THE JOB BECAUSE OF HIS PREVIOUS MOVIE.

Boyle, sought out director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo to take his place because of Fresnadillo’s previous film, Intacto.

6. ROBERT CARLYLE HAD WORKED WITH DANNY BOYLE BEFORE.

Robert Carlyle was no stranger to working with Boyle; the two had previously worked together on Trainspotting and The Beach. Before accepting the role of Don in 28 Weeks Later, Carlyle had actually turned down the Major Henry West part in 28 Days Later (a role that eventually went to actor Christopher Eccleston).

7. THE HOUSE FROM THE OPENING SCENE MAY LOOK FAMILIAR.

It was the same home outside of London used in the film Children of Men.

8. THE DIRECTOR PUT IN A SMALL NOD TO HIS HOME COUNTRY.

Andy wears a Real Madrid jersey in 28 Weeks Later, which is a nod to Fresnadillo's home country of Spain.

9. ACTRESS CATHERINE MCCORMACK WAS BUSY DURING PRODUCTION.


YouTube

McCormack appeared in the play The 39 Steps in London at the same time she shot the movie, which required limiting her takes to simplify her schedule.

10. PRODUCTION DESIGNERS USED LITERARY AND HISTORICAL INSPIRATION FOR THE SCENES OF POST-APOCALYPTIC LONDON.

The empty and desolate street scenes were modeled after descriptions from Charles Dickens novels and from photos taken during the London Blitz from World War II.

11. THE FILMMAKERS CHEATED A BIT WITH THE POST-APOCALYPTIC SCENES.

Most of the end scenes were shot “day for night” to make it look like all the lights were out in London. If they actually shot at night they would have had to use costly CGI to remove the lights from shots.

12. BUT THE FILMMAKERS STILL HAD A LOT OF CGI TO COMPLETE IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

The production had to finish 400 CG shots in just two months.

13. THE PRODUCTION REALLY WENT UNDERGROUND.


By mattbuck, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The film shot for two full weeks in London’s Charing Cross Underground station.

14. THE INFECTED CAST HAD A REAL CULTURAL PEDIGREE.

Everyone playing an infected person in the movie was required to have a movement-based artistic background. The final cast included ballet dancers, gymnasts, circus performers, and mimes.

15. THE FILM’S CODA WAS SHOT LAST.

The filmmakers came up with the idea for the coda just two weeks before production wrapped. Fresnadillo traveled to Paris with a limited crew and only HD cameras to shoot it in one afternoon.

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Poike/iStock via Getty Images Plus
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8 Surprising Facts About Jean-Claude Van Damme

Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Patrick Aventurier, Getty Images

While Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone were considered the apex of the 1980s action movie hero, genre fans found a more graceful alternative in Jean-Claude Van Damme. The Belgian-born actor and martial artist used his flexibility to great effect in action classics like 1988’s Bloodsport, 1989’s Kickboxer, and 1994’s Timecop. For more on the “Muscles from Brussels,” including his competitive fighting background and why he once challenged Steven Seagal to a real fight in Stallone’s backyard, read on.

1. Jean-Claude Van Damme was a ballet “nerd.”

Actor Jean Claude Van Damme attends the Jean Claude Van Damme Photocall at the Majestic Beach during the 61st International Cannes Film Festival on May 17 , 2008 in Cannes, France.
Jean Claude Van Damme attends the Cannes Film Festival.
Francois Durand/Getty Images

Kicking out of his mother’s womb on October 18, 1960 in Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Brussels, Belgium, the future Van Damme was born Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg. (He used the stage name “Frank Cujo” before settling on Van Damme.) A self-described “nerd,” Van Damme studied karate and ballet in his youth, the latter for five years. He said his father encouraged him to take karate in order for the bespectacled Van Damme to be able to toughen up. But Van Damme also said ballet greatly aided his martial arts ability and screen presence.

“I was always attracted to ballet because of the dexterity, the stretching, the grace, and the fact that you are able to control without showing any pain on your face,” Van Damme told the Chicago Tribune in 1993. “I mixed the grace and the movement with the power of karate. It’s been a big help in my movies.”

2. Jean-Claude Van Damme worked as a bouncer for Chuck Norris.

Van Damme operated a gym in Brussels and had success in bodybuilding and modeling, but he wanted to act. Heading to Hollywood in his early 20s to pursue his dreams of stardom, Van Damme picked up bits parts in films like 1984’s Monaco Forever (he was officially credited as “Gay Karate Man”) and a future GIF-worthy scene in 1984’s Breakin’ while working as a cab driver, waiter, and bouncer, among other odd jobs. Most notably, he bounced for Woody’s Wharf, a bar owned by martial arts icon Chuck Norris. “American people are big people,” Van Damme told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. “I didn’t have any fight, thank God. I was a good schmoozer, simpatico and no incident happened.”

3. Jean-Claude Van Damme got his big break by throwing kicks at a producer’s head.

Jean-Claude Van Damme in 'Bloodsport' (1988)
Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport (1988).
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

After a tense shoot on 1987’s Predator, in which Van Damme was cast as the titular alien but was replaced during production, the actor wanted to find a role better-suited to his talents. One day, he found himself crossing paths with B-movie producer Menahem Golan. Seizing the opportunity, Van Damme began launching kicks at Golan, stopping short of connecting. This earned him a meeting in Golan’s office, in which a shirtless Van Damme convinced Golan he was skilled, charismatic, and most importantly, cheap. Golan cast him in 1988’s Bloodsport, a martial arts tournament film ostensibly based on the real-life exploits of Frank Dux. Van Damme helped re-cut the film with screenwriter Sheldon Lettich and Carl Kress, an editor who worked on 1974’s The Towering Inferno. Bloodsport went on to make $65 million, turning Van Damme into an overnight star.

4. Jean-Claude Van Damme once threw a papaya at a producer’s head.

The success of Bloodsport led to steady work for Van Damme, who appeared in 1989’s Kickboxer, 1990’s Lionheart, and 1991’s Double Impact. In the latter, he played twins out to avenge the death of their father. But the production was troubled. In 2019, Van Damme told Yahoo! that the producer of the film was attempting to divert funds from Double Impact to 1991’s Stone Cold, an action vehicle for NFL star Brian Bosworth. Van Damme grew so upset that he threw a papaya at the producer’s head. “Thank God he ducked,” Van Damme said. “[It splattered] all over the wall. And he just ran away to the airport. I was crazy at the time. You just don’t touch my movie.”

5. Jean-Claude Van Damme once challenged Steven Seagal to a fight at Sylvester Stallone’s house.

According to Sylvester Stallone, a fight between the two action stars nearly happened off-camera. In 1997, Stallone invited both Van Damme and actor Steven Seagal to a house party at Stallone’s property in Miami, Florida. At some point, Van Damme expressed irritation that Seagal had previously claimed he could best Van Damme in a fight. Van Damme demanded Seagal follow him outside to settle it, which Stallone claimed Seagal avoided. Later, the two were at a nightclub when Van Damme again confronted Seagal, who slipped out “like Houdini,” according to Stallone.

6. Jean-Claude Van Damme knows his film titles can get repetitive.

Many Van Damme films have some variation of “death” or “dead” in the title, a fact Van Damme is well aware of. Promoting his Amazon Prime series Jean-Claude Van Johnson in 2017, the actor joked about the generic flavor of the films. “For a while, I was kind of forgotten there,” he told Rolling Stone. "'OK, Jean-Claude, what’s he doing?' Sudden Death, March of Death, Dead Dead Dead, and Double Dead, and what was the last one? Dead on Dead.” Van Damme's most recent live-action feature was 2019's We Die Young.

7. Jean-Claude Van Damme gave one of Time magazine’s Great Movie Performances of 2008.

At times dismissed for being more of a physical performer than an actor, Van Damme earned critical praise in 2008 for JCVD, a meta film in which he portrays himself dealing with both a bank heist and the torment of self-reflection. In one six-minute monologue, Van Damme lays himself bare. TIME dubbed it one of the great performances of the year.

8. Jean-Claude Van Damme has two statues dedicated in his honor.

In 2012, a statue paying tribute to Van Damme debuted in Brussels, Belgium in front of the Westland Shopping Center. The towering sculpture depicts Van Damme in a martial arts posture, ready to strike. Van Damme also has a second statue sporting his likeness, this one in the country of Azerbaijan. The piece, which features Van Damme doing his trademark splits, is located in the village of Vandam.