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Tom Shadyac on the Costly Evan Almighty

Published June 21, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures.
Evan Almighty Poster Evan Almighty
Much has been made of Evan Almighty’s budget. The comedy spin-off sequel has the highest budget of any comedy, rumored to be close to $200 million. Director Tom Shadyac explained himself.

Tom Shadyac on Evan Almighty


“Just the hairdressing alone was like $98 million,” said Shadyac. “The budget thing kind of makes me smile because Spider-Man just cost around $300, we’re $170 plus I think is the official figure, although I don’t even know what it was. We’re one of the cheaper summer movies, and yet we’re a comedy so it’s unique.”

Even though it is a comedy, there are plenty of visual effects in Evan Almighty. Those ain’t cheap. “We’re much more than a comedy, as you know. We’re a Biblical epic, we had an ark, we had thousands of animals, we had a flood. And if you look at the screen I could point you specifically to where the money goes, CG generation of water, composite shots that are 100 layers thick and deep.”

Ultimately, there’s no harm done by spending so much. “The good news is, ticket prices aren’t going up because of this movie. People will get more for their money, and in this very competitive summer climate we’re glad that we can offer a lot for the dollar. And I’m also glad that a comedy is being given this kind of belief by a studio, that a comedy is being taken this seriously, and again we’re a Bible story too. We’re a Bible parable, we’re not just ‘a comedy.’ It’s not two guys on a road trip behind the wheel of a Pinto, although I think I may do that movie, it sounds good.



Construction costs added up too. “When we thought of this originally, ‘Hey, it would be cool to have a modern day ark. What if God came and told you to build an ark? Oh man, that would be cool, especially if you were working in a really serious job…’ And then you get there a couple of months before we start shooting and you go, ‘Oh, we have to do this, actually have to build an ark.’ And you realize that that idea now has to come to life. And the answer in one word is help, we needed lots of help. It’s the most extreme home makeover show ever done.”

That help involved more than just construction. The ark had to be a working set too. “We needed builders and engineers and structural engineers, because Noah didn’t have to worry about putting a film crew on his boat. We did. The equipment’s very heavy, how does that work, where are the weak points, the structural deficiencies, so we had a lot of help.”

Then star Steve Carell had to do some heavy lifting himself. “We also had to figure out how Steve was going to participate in the building of this. He actually had to learn how to build a boat. We know about the keel now, the rib pieces, skinning the ark, how all that works. So I’m the guy to come teach that class in Sunday school, not that anybody wants to see it.“

Evan Almighty opens to theaters on June 22nd.

For the stills, posters, trailer and more movie info, go to the Evan Almighty Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.


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Fred Topel
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures.
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