The Killer Quake That Inspired Roth's 'Aftershock'
By David Weiner
A group of partiers in Chile find themselves facing the wrath of Mother Nature and – even worse – human nature in the disaster thriller Aftershock, and producer/co-writer/star Eli Roth and his director and co-stars explain how the events of the movie were inspired by real life tragedy.
"I'm Chilean and I lived through the real earthquake that the movie is partly based on," says co-star Lorenza Izzo of the February, 2010 earthquake that registered 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale and lasted for a full, three intense minutes. "Most of the stories the movie shares I actually went through. One of my close friends got both of his hands chopped off. I was at a club dancing at 3:30 a.m. when the real earthquake hit and it was complete chaos."
Roth adds, "I've been in a serious earthquake. I was with a girl in my bedroom when I first moved to L.A. and she was from the East Coast as was I, and we didn't know what to do. It was very scary, because it was fun for a second, and then we were like, this isn't stopping. … Thankfully we weren't hurt. It wasn't serious like the Northridge earthquake [of 1994], but it was very scary."
In Aftershock, out May 10, Roth plays "Gringo," a single guy just looking to meet girls and enjoy the good life while on vacation in Chile. While partying with new pals Ariel (Ariel Levy), Monica (Andrea Osvart), Kylie (Izzo) and Pollo (Nicolas Martinez) at a nightclub, a devastating earthquake rocks the South American country. Barely surviving the initial onslaught, Gringo and his friends stumble amid the rubble in an effort to get help as society erupts into chaos -- and the friends find themselves face-to-face with escaped prisoners looking to exploit their newfound freedom any way they can.
Aftershock is directed by Chilean native Nicolas Lopez, and recalling that 2010 earthquake, he says, "Suddenly I saw my Nintendo Wii flying across the room and it was like, 'OK, this is serious.' … I opened the door where you could see the whole skyline of Santiago, and suddenly everything turned white like a nuclear explosion. … The first thing that I thought was like, 'This is the end of the world,' and the second thing was like, 'This could be a really cool movie.'"