The Rock Saves the World in ‘San Andreas’
After the infamous San Andreas Fault gives, triggering a magnitude 9-plus earthquake in California, a search and rescue helicopter pilot (Dwayne Johnson) and his estranged wife (Carla Gugino) make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter.
But their treacherous journey north is only the beginning. And when they think the worst may be over…it’s just getting started.
San Andreas imagines the largest magnitude earthquake in recorded history. A seismic swarm along a previously undetected fault near Nevada’s Hoover Dam crosses the border to trigger California’s notorious San Andreas Fault, which erupts in a massive jolt that rocks Los Angeles to its core. But it doesn’t stop there. The shockwave travels up the fault line, setting off a ripple effect of chaos and destruction all the way to San Francisco.
Dwayne Johnson stars as the story’s pivotal character, Ray Gaines, an LAFD Search and Rescue helicopter pilot, who embarks on a deeply personal mission when the disaster strikes, vowing to bring his estranged wife and their daughter to safety amidst the escalating fallout. “I was captivated by the script; I was moved. It grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let go,” he says. “When an earthquake hits there’s no warning. Shifting tectonic plates can trigger aftershocks and even additional quakes and you just try to get through it, minute by minute. That’s what makes San Andreas such a heart-pounding experience. It keeps coming at you.”
“A movie like this is about size and scope,” he continues. “You’re imagining the biggest earthquake of all time, so what would that look like for audiences? But for Ray, it’s about more than survival. He’s trying to keep his family together…in more ways than one.”
It was this fusion of wide-scale calamity and intensely personal connections that drew not only Johnson but director Brad Peyton to the project while it was still in the latter stages of development with producer Beau Flynn. The three had previously collaborated on the worldwide hit “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,” and welcomed the chance to work together again on such a vastly different story where everything – the action, the scale, and the emotional beats – is amplified.
Says Peyton, “This is different from anything I’ve done before. It was more demanding in its larger-than-life elements but also in striking that tonal honesty. I wanted the characters to ring true so audiences could see it through their point of view as opposed to standing back and witnessing it from a safe distance. Because, as impactful as the action is, at the heart of every story are people you care about.”